Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please.
It’s time to press pause on your ‘Drive to Survive’ episode and get off the couch, because guess what? The real deal is finally here. That’s right, it’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix week.
It’s the one time of the year we’re happy to swallow the second-fiddle pill, although if you thought it was only Formula 1 who was bringing the action to Albert Park, you’re wrong.
Round two of the Supercars championship brings quick races, fast pit stops and all the four-wheeled action you can dream of, all in front of the world’s stage. Excited yet?
For Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup, the Melbourne 400 marks another key milestone for the seven-time Supercars champion. After being crowned the most winningest Holden driver in Supercars history with 86 wins, JDub will notch his 500th race on Saturday’s race four, an achievement only seven others have reached previously.
Reflecting on his two podiums in 2019, as well as a race win in 2018 where he also won the Larry Perkins trophy, JDub explained the importance of being prepared from the very start of the weekend.
“Our history at the Grand Prix gives us a bit of confidence knowing that if the cars are fast and we can be competitive from the start, we should taste success over the weekend, although that doesn’t guarantee everything.
“We just have to put our head down and work hard to get the cars to where they need to be. It’s a long weekend with four tough races on both hard and soft tyres which we haven’t done in a while, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
After his race one win in Adelaide, JDub is looking to capitalise on his successful start to the season.
“Consistency is key this weekend, trying to put in four consistent races and have consistent pit stops is always the challenge. Who knows what the weather is going to do also? In past it’s always thrown a curveball, but for us we just need to make sure we have the right tyres on at the right time and if we can stay up the front it will be great,” JDub said.
So, JDub, who will you be barracking for in the Formula 1 Grand Prix?
“I’m obviously a massive Red Bull Racing fan, so we’ll certainly all be cheering on Maxy (Max Verstappen) and Alex (Albon) and hopefully either one can get their first win around the Albert Park circuit.”
For Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen, the confidence knowing the speed #97 is capable of is the most exciting aspect coming into round two.
“I’m keen to start a new weekend with the confidence knowing we have a fast car that can be competitive all weekend.
“It’s a different format from most Supercars events. They’re quicker races, quicker pit stops, and the rules around tyres will be interesting to watch. The track is also harsh on tyres, so it will be important for us to look after them while maintaining a competitive speed,” SVG said.
Having tasted success at Albert Park in recent years, SVG hasn’t stepped on the podium since the event has been contested for points, something that he’ll be looking to achieve this week.
“I’ve been able to claim a couple of victories at Albert Park but not since we’ve been racing for points, so I’m hoping to capitalise on our quick car and hopefully have some success over the four races.”
On-track action from the Melbourne 400 kicks off on Thursday with two practice sessions, with races 3-6 contested over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.