We are headed to the top end and if you haven’t packed your fishing rod clearly you’ve planned out your trip all wrong – just read Jamie’s favourite Darwin moment below.
No, don’t worry we’re not there to take a holiday, we are straight into Round 7 at Hidden Valley Raceway.
After a small taste of back to back podium finishes in Perth and Winton, Jamie ‘J-Dub’ Whincup is eager to take Car 88 out for spin on the racetrack.
“It was good to be in podium contention in Winton and there’s no reason why we can’t improve on that,” J-Dub said.
“It’s definitely nice to have had a competitive car for the last two rounds but this weekend will be a true test to see if we have made the necessary progress with the car.”
With some topsy-turvy races and results over the past six rounds, and we haven’t even mentioned the third time J-Dub lost a wheel over the weekend at his Australian GT debut (whoops we just did!), could it be that the Red Bull Holden Racing Team have finally found that ‘momentum’ that’s been needed?
“Trying to develop and remain consistent is always a challenge,” said Team Manager, Mark ‘Dutto’ Dutton.
“Two podiums in two rounds; we’re obviously happy overall with what we achieved at the events in Perth and Winton.”
But as we all know there are two cars out there and maybe the end results are slightly dependent on the driver and circumstances they each find themselves in during the race, but in all honesty is there an explanation that Car 88 can go faster than Car 97 (given all other things being equal)?
“These cars are very sensitive to different setup windows and a small number of variances between setups particularly in qualifying, can make a large difference to starting positions when the grid is separated by the smallest of margins,” said Dutto.
“Both cars in Winton had good race pace, however Car 88’s qualifying speed was better, which was as a result of developing and testing different setups between the cars.”
READ MORE: Podium provides some warmth at Winton
So, then it’s no wonder that the smallest change and a millisecond of difference on the time sheets can lead to frustration for the drivers, just ask SVG who hopes there will be no repeat of it in Darwin.
“In qualifying we not only just kept making mistakes as we couldn’t get the car to my liking but then I was also trying too hard which caused me to keep mucking up,” he said.
“We need to work a little harder during the Friday practice to get a set-up of the car suitable for qualifying because a qualifying car (set-up) makes a huge difference in the end.”
Onward and upward as they say because around here it’s all about the overall big picture towards the end of the season.
“We need to make sure we keep scoring some points no matter what,” said SVG.
“After Winton we feel like we’ve made some gains and we will hopefully see the rewards from that in Darwin.”
With a little help from the engineers, the crew at the workshop and all the busy bees in between it really is a team effort to make any sort of changes and improvements on the cars.
“We have been working extremely hard in the lead up to Darwin and again have new development components which we are confident will continue to improve car performance and consistency,” said Dutto.
“The goal for Darwin is to have both cars finish on the podium.”
Believe it or not, we are approaching the halfway mark of the season so to have two cars on the podium sounds like a good goal if you ask us.
Although we can’t be certain about what happens on the track, there is one thing we are sure about – here comes the heat!
As we head to Darwin we may need to slip, slop and slap, seeing as our pasty white wintry skin has been covered with multiple layers of clothing, and this weekend will give us a good opportunity to soak up some sun.
“I am struggling at home with the cold so can’t wait to get to the heat in Darwin,” said J-Dub.
It’s expected to be a hot weekend both on and off the track but we’re sure some reactions to the heat won’t be any different to SVG’s.
“It sucks. (clearly this Kiwi’s blood wasn’t made for the tropics).
“I don’t like the heat, it’s part of the reason why I loved Winton,” SVG laughed.
“I like winter so there is a little challenge for Darwin cause it’s hot.”
The struggle for some is real and you thought we were kidding!
Either way the forecast is shorts, singlet and thongs, maybe not exactly for us but ice blocks are definitely on the cards as we fire up our Twitter page with live updates from Friday, June 14.
Jamie’s Predictions for Darwin:
Fastest lap time on the track – 01:06.50
Who’s the one to watch in Darwin – David Reynolds
Biggest Challenge in Darwin – Not getting eaten by a crocodile.
Three words to describe Darwin – Very long straight.
Favourite moment in Darwin – Fishing in Kakadu.
Shane’s Predictions for Darwin:
Fastest lap time on the track – 01:15.00
Who’s the one to watch in Darwin – The slurpie machine.
Biggest Challenge in Darwin – The heat.
Three words to describe Darwin – Hot. Hot. Hot.
Favourite moment in Darwin – Winning the race in 2011.
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