TICKFORD RACING – TASMANIA SUPERSPRINT PREVIEW
5 April, 2018
Making its lone trip of the season across Bass Strait, Tickford Racing heads south of Launceston for this weekend’s Tasmania SuperSprint, the third round of the 2018 Supercars season. The season’s first two events showed plenty of promise across all four team cars, while also revealing areas of improvement which the team aims to address as the season heads into its busiest stretch of the year.
Chaz Mostert (No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X) leads the team heading into the weekend, placed fourth in the championship, and the only driver to have finished every race of 2018 thus far in the top ten. Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) and Cameron Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Falcon FG X) will look to shake off a bitter end to last month’s Melbourne 400 and climb further into the top ten in the championship, while Richie Stanaway (No. 56 MEGA Fuels/Tickford Ford Falcon FG X) hopes that fortune will begin to turn his way as the rookie looks to convert positive race pace into stronger race results in his first appearance at Symmons Plains since 2009.
Supercars returns to Symmons Plains Raceway for the 46th time in its history, but will debut a new, elimination-style qualifying format on Saturday that aims to limit the number of cars on track during qualifying at the season’s shortest circuit. The same format will be replicated on Sunday to determine the Race 8 grid, and will be used again when Supercars visits Barbagallo Raceway in Perth in early May.
The Supercars championship contests four events over the next seven weeks, beginning with the Tasmania SuperSprint April 7-9 at Symmons Plains Raceway. The weekend will consist of a 50-lap, 120-kilometre race on Saturday, and an 84-lap, 200-kilometre race on Sunday, both worth 150 points each to win.
No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
“I’m excited to get back to Tassie, it’s a track that’s been pretty good in the past for our team, and I think the track will suit our cars, so I’m looking forward to getting down there. I’m also looking forward to the new qualifying format, with practice times qualifying you, and sort of an elimination format will help limit the number of cars on track at any one time. I think that’s actually a good format for our calendar, so I’m really excited for that. Obviously the weather down there is always an unknown so it should be interesting, but if it’s a pretty straightforward race our cars have been notoriously good there and our history’s been good, so I’m looking forward to getting there and seeing what we’ve got.”
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Falcon FG X
“It’s obviously good to get back in the car, and the calendar is a bit more consistent which is nice. Tassie’s a place I’ve gone well at the last two years, so I’m excited to get there and see how we go. The track should suit our cars pretty well, I think, and hopefully the weather’s kind to us. The forecast calls for cooler temps which doesn’t affect us much, but the question mark at Tassie is not if but when it’s going to rain. So far it looks pretty nice, but we’ll be ready to adapt if we have to.”
No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X
“We’ve got a great opportunity to bank some points this weekend. We started the season off pretty well but we still have some gains to make, and the boys have put in a lot of effort to give us those extra few percent ahead of this weekend. Last year we should have swept the weekend but came away with nothing, so personally I’m determined to have a good showing and make up for that. It’ll be a busy weekend; I think the new qualifying format will add some flavour to the show while also keeping the track relatively clear for everyone, and there’s 300 more points up for grabs, so we’ll go in and try to score as many as we can.”
No. 56 MEGA Fuels/Tickford Ford Falcon FG X
“It’s good to get back to the track this weekend, and Symmons Plains is a good place to get our season moving in the right direction. We’ve had a tough beginning of the year, but every time I’m on track I learn something I can apply the next time. You can’t beat seat time, so I’m looking forward to turning more laps and making the car better. I think we’re about at the point where we can put all the little things together. We learned a lot in the first two rounds, and we’ve worked hard to make improvements. Our race pace has been strong in every race, and I think we’ve figured out what’s been hurting us in qualifying, so hopefully we can start further up the grid and compete with the guys up near the front.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“Whenever you get to end the work week at a race track it makes the week better, so I know we’re all looking forward to getting down to Tassie. We’ve had an up and down start to the season, but we’ve scored some strong results there in the past, so hopefully that little track is kind to us this time around. It’s early days in the championship but we’re settling into a pretty rapid stretch of races the next few weeks, so we’d really like to have a strong weekend and get us into a rhythm for the next few rounds.
We’d also like to send our best wishes to our team manager Chris O’Toole, who’s recovering from a nasty spill on his motorbike and will miss the event this weekend. Chris has been with us since day one in 2003 and has never missed an event. We know he’ll miss being at the track, so we’ll put our heads down and try to bring back some trophies to cheer him up.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
The Dunlop Super2 Series also returns to action in Tasmania, with Tickford Racing’s Thomas Randle settling back into the No. 5 Skye Sands Ford. The rookie Super2 driver shined in practice and qualifying at the season opener in Adelaide, but a power steering failure early in Race 1 ended his weekend prematurely, leaving the Victorian determined to find redemption on his birthday weekend.
No. 5 Skye Sands Ford Falcon FG X
“The first round of the championship certainly didn’t go the way we had hoped. The car and team have been phenomenal, and it has felt like an eternity since I have been in the car, so I am certainly looking forward to getting on track this Friday at Symmons Plains. This will be my first time at Symmons Plains and in fact to Tasmania for that matter. The car has been fully rebuilt and I am sure we can show even more speed than we did at round one in Adelaide.”
EVENT NAME: Tasmania SuperSprint
DATE: April 6-8
LOCATION: Perth, Tasmania
EVENT NUMBER: 3 of 16
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 45-min practice; Saturday – 1 x 20-min practice, 3 x 10-min qualifying, 1 x 50-lap race (120 km); Sunday – 1 x 20-min practice, 3 x 10-min qualifying, 1 x 84-lap race (200 km)
CIRCUIT: Symmons Plains Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Albeit the shortest circuit on the Supercars calendar, Symmons Plains is notorious for high speed, action-packed races that push both car and driver to its limits. Its signature 180-degree, banked hairpin at Turn 4 serves as one of three heavy braking areas on the track, which offers multiple overtaking opportunities, but can magnify even the smallest mistakes on a lap that requires precise driving to perfect.
TRACK RECORD: 50.9676s (Jamie Whincup, 2014)
TICKFORD RACING BEST RESULT: 1st – Will Davison (2013 Race 1) Mark Winterbottom (2010 Race 2), Jason Bright (2006 Race 1)