PRODRIVE RACING – NEWCASTLE 500 PREVIEW
For the first time since 2008, Prodrive Racing (Australia) will conclude its racing season at a new circuit, the brand new 2.6-kilometre street course at the inaugural Newcastle 500. The PRA quartet will head to New South Wales hoping to end the 2017 campaign on a high note.
Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FG X) heads into the season’s final round with a mathematical chance to claim the series crown, and will finish no lower than fifth in the standings, guaranteeing his best career championship finish.
This weekend will also mark a farewell of sorts for Jason Bright, who recently announced his retirement from full-time Supercars racing at the conclusion of the 2017 season. To date, Bright has competed in 256 rounds and 571 individual races, scoring 20 wins and 17 pole positions. He is the third most experienced driver in Supercars history behind only Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes.
A win this weekend continues PRA’s claim of winning at every circuit on the active calendar, and with all four drivers able to move further up the championship standings, each heads into the season finale determined to procure strong results in the season’s final two races.
#5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
“The track’s brand new, we’ve never seen cars go on it before, so it’s the unknown, but we’re looking forward to that. From what I’ve seen the circuit looks spectacular, and I can’t wait to run it at speed. The last street race we had was Sunday at Gold Coast and it was the first race in a while where things went to plan, and we grabbed a top five, so we’ll look to do more of the same this weekend.”
#6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
“The new circuit will be pretty cool, I’m excited to get there and check it out. I’ve never been to Newcastle before, so we’ll go there nice and early, walk around it, work out which ways it goes. So far the surface looks pretty new so the circuit should be pretty grippy and it should be a bit like Adelaide or Gold Coast. I think we’re definitely in a good position to go there and win some races and get on the podium. The car’s been really quick lately, I’ve been driving it well, and we’ve been really working at what we need with the car. I’m super pumped to get in the car, and I think it’ll be a good weekend.”
#55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
“I just want to go get some more champagne and trophies for the guys. The championship is what it is, but for me it’s just about going to have some fun at a new track and get some champagne. For me, it’s just good to go to a new track, something new. You always learn something about your car when you go to a new place, so it’s going to be interesting to see. Saying that, a new event, you want to be one of the first winners there, so we’ll see how we go.”
#56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford
“It’s strange to think this will be the last round for me as a full-time driver, but I’ve got plenty to be grateful for, having been able to do this for 20 years is something pretty special. While I’m looking forward to the new track, I’m glad I’ll be able to share this weekend with my family and take it all in. I don’t know what the future holds, but we’ve been coming along well on track the last few rounds, and we’ll give it all we can to finish things off with a good result.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal
“I think everybody is excited about getting to Newcastle. The aerial shots we’ve seen, what we’ve heard from some of the guys we’ve sent there on the ground, everything about it makes it out to be a great round for the championship. The circuit has some great features and should make for some great racing. There’s a whole host of things that are unknown, but with four cars in our stable we should be able to figure out any issues quickly and hopefully we’ll be in for a good weekend.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Super2 duo Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean also conclude their 2017 campaigns at the 2.6-kilometre street circuit, looking to end their seasons strong. Despite an unsuccessful defence to his 2016 Super2 championship, Jacobson has been buoyed by a strong finish in his main game co-driver role alongside Jason Bright, shining at both Bathurst and Gold Coast. Currently seventh in the Super2 standings, Jacobson sits well within range of the top five with two races on the weekend ahead. Meanwhile, Kean’s last Super2 appearance – at Sandown in September – yielded the 24-year old his best finish of the season, a sixth in Race 2, which he looks to convert into another strong result in the season’s final round.
Garry Jacobson – #1 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford
“It feels like it’s been ages since my last run in the car, so it’ll be great to get back behind the wheel. The Newcastle circuit looks really fun and challenging, so we’ll have our hands full both on the track and in the garage trying to find the best setup, but I’m looking forward to getting out there, the track looks great. After running the enduros, my confidence is quite high, so I’m hoping that carries over and we can finish the Super2 season on a high.”
Josh Kean – #5 Wynns Racing PRA Ford
“I’m excited for Newcastle and am really looking forward to the experience of a new track. I’ve come to love street circuits over the years and this one looks like it could be one of the best we’ve ever run, with all of the cornering, elevation and sights around the circuit. I can’t wait to hop back into in the car as it’s been so long, and hopefully we can finish off the year with a pair of strong runs.”
EVENT NAME: Coates Hire Newcastle 500
DATE: November 24 – 26
LOCATION: Newcastle Street Circuit, New South Wales
EVENT NUMBER: 14 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 40-min practice; Saturday – 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x 95-lap race; Sunday – 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x Top Ten Shootout (1 lap), 1 x 95-lap race
CIRCUIT: Newcastle Street Circuit
DESCRIPTION: New for 2017, the Newcastle circuit will provide a new challenge for drivers as it runs through the eastern end of the Newcastle CBD taking in scenic views along Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle and Nobby’s beaches and Newcastle Harbour, 2.6km in length. The circuit is expected to be similar to the Adelaide Parklands Circuit and Townsville’s Reid Park layout.
TRACK RECORD: To be determined
PRA BEST RESULT: To be determined