It’s time to cut the Supercars ribbon at The Bend, as we head to the newest purpose-built circuit in Australia for the first time.
The team will call Tailem Bend home from Thursday, which is located 100kms outside of Adelaide, not far from Murray Bridge.
Inspired by some of the world’s most iconic race tracks, The Bend offers eight different circuit configurations over it’s 7.77km long journey. We will be running on the ‘International Circuit,’ which is 4.945kms long, with 18 corners throughout the lap.
Top speeds are predicted to be around the 270kph mark, with an average speed of 162kph.
It provides a mix of fast flowing corners and tight technical sections. To compare it to something more familiar, it’s a bit of Phillip Island mixed with elements of Sydney Motorsport Park.
Corners 7 through 10 consist of a long, sweeping right hander that is just under 180 degrees in total. It will be crucial to keep the car balanced through there when setting up the rest of the lap.
Our Walkinshaw GT3 programme raced at The Bend back in April, which means both JC and Scott have been studying the onboard footage before their arrival, doing everything they can to familiarise themselves with the circuit before they head out for their first lap on Friday.
After our first in-season test day last week, the team will be looking to continue to build on the positive developments that were made, while getting an understanding of the track and how the car will behave as quickly as possible. It’s fair to say Friday will be a very busy day.
While everyone will go in on level footing, it will be essential to dial the car in as quickly as possible.
There will be two practice sessions on Friday, and one on Saturday morning, before a qualifying session each weekend day, a 120km race Saturday, and 200km race Sunday.
It’s also the last time JC and Scott will be in the car by themselves for a few months, with enduro season kicking off the following round at Sandown.
“I’m really looking forward to this one, especially at a new circuit like The Bend. It makes Friday really interesting, we’ve got to adapt as quickly as possible to the new track, but still get through our testing programme.
“The way Sydney finished was devastating, but the speed we showed was a positive, and then to add to it with our first in-season test last week meant we got a lot of laps in the car, and were able to try a few different things.
“Everyone at the workshop has been working really hard lately to make sure we are as prepared as possible for what the weekend might hold, so now I just can’t wait to get there and roll out of pitlane. It’s always nice heading back home to South Australia for a round as well!”
“The facility from what we’ve seen looks great, and the track should be a lot of fun to drive.
“It was great to finally get back on the test track and turn some laps. We will continue that process on Friday, but we took some real positives from the test.
“Those first few laps on Friday will be important to get our heads fully around the place, but after that it will be business as usual, like it was at Newcastle last year.”