With just over a week to week to wait before the on track action gets underway at the famous Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst, fans and teams alike are anticipating what should be the highlight of the 2016 Championship season.
Last year’s event was won by Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards, when Lowndes was still driving for the main Red Bull racing team, but this year the reigning champs will return under the new banner of Team Vortex.
Lowndes has already proven how competitive the Team Vortex contender is and the driver combination is a proven winner, so their chances of repeating last year’s success are very high.
With the countdown on, the Team Vortex crew spoke with Steven Richards to get his thoughts on the key corners that make up the legendary Bathurst track…
Turn 1: One of the most important corners on the track. It leads to one of the few over taking points on the circuit. If you brake too late and miss the apex and run wide, you're vulnerable to getting overtaken. Conversely, hitting the inside curb will also lead to a slow exit, costing precious kilometres per hour up the mountain straight.
Turn 3: A corner that never gets much attention. With that said, it’s the one that has the potential to suck you in. On a green Dunlop tyre, it causes you to question yourself. "Should I just lift slightly or dab the brake?" or, “should I go back to third or carry through it in fourth?". Ultimately, the wrong decision on a hero qualifying lap can be costly. Thankfully, Lowndesy will have to deal with that one!
Turn 6: We call it 'under the tree'. It’s almost my favourite part of the circuit because it requires maximum commitment and it is the last phase of the up-hill section of the circuit. You arrive at the turn in point at about 160 kilometres per hour and you can’t see through to the exit. You turn in early and trail the throttle slightly, but wanting to get back to the throttle stop as soon as possible. If you don’t get to the exit curb you're wasting your lap speed. It is always awesome on a green Dunlop tyre.
Turn 8: Dipping down to the grate is all about confidence and not washing off the speed. It’s another one of those situations where you can go one of two ways. “Do I grab a bit of brake?” or, “do I lift early and maintain mid-corner speed”. While there’s not much of a chance to get passed through McPhillamy, the consequence of getting it wrong is ugly.
Turns 11 to 17: You can almost call this section the 'Crazy Coaster'. When you arrive at the Esses, all you can see is distant mountains merging with the circuit. The less you can use the brakes the better all the way down to 'The Elbow'.
Turn 18: Forrest’s Elbow is crucial. A good car setup here is important for your race car. Again crucial for passing or potential for being overtaken heading into The Chase.