300 kilometres of flat-out driving is the order of the day as the Ford teams head to Phillip Island for the second round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series this weekend.
The wide-open Phillip Island layout makes it a favourite amongst drivers, and with a change in the format to a single 300km race, engine power and reliability will be key areas to success.
With 11 new BA Falcons set to race this weekend, all teams are keen to stretch the legs of the Fords over 67-laps of racing.
Coming off a solid fifth place overall at the opening round in Adelaide, Team Betta Electrical’s Paul Radisich is after an even stronger result at the ultra-fast Phillip Island.
“Last year I finished third overall at Phillip Island, so an improvement on that result is what we’re after,” said Radisich.
“Our cars have plenty of power and with the new BA aero package we’re confident that a win is very much achievable.
“300 kilometres around Phillip Island will be a big test, picking the right time to stop for tyres and fuel will be a major key to the results.
“Tyre wear is expected to be a big issue, so being easy on the rubber could give teams an advantage in the final run to the flag.
Pirtek Racing’s Marcos Ambrose won the opening race at Adelaide and also scored a race win at Phillip Island last year. His team has worked non-stop to make sure he’s got the machinery to make it all the way to the chequered at Phillip Island in 2003.
“We now have all new 2003 specification parts on the BA Falcon,” said Ambrose.
“In Adelaide we still had a couple of carry-over items from the AU Falcon from last year, but now it’s all new and improved hardware.
“Phillip Island is one of my favourites tracks anywhere in the world.
“It’s fast and demanding, and with a 300 kilometre race for the first time it will be a true challenge”.
As part of the 2003 rules, Phillip Island is one of the dedicated test circuits and therefore teams will be given an extra 90-minute Friday test session.
“This test session is a big welcome to all teams,” said Director of Shell Helix Racing Dick Johnson.
“This gives us the opportunity to try a few different things with the cars before practice and qualifying starts on Saturday.
“We can also have a few runs with a heavy fuel load and see how our cars work in those conditions.”
Another change to the program for 2003 will see the Top-10 Shootout take place on the Sunday morning and not Saturday afternoon. This means race fans will get to see the final run for pole just two hours before the race.
The race will feature compulsory tyre and fuel stops with pit crews once again called into action to play their part in the race results.