Tassie is my home state. I had my first race at Symmons Plains when I was a young teenager and I love the place. My dad Brian raced at the opening meeting in 1960, how scary is that?
In most cars it's a simple track, unchanged in it’s layout since the first race meeting – in a V8 Supercar it’s difficult because the tiniest time increments can make a massive difference.
It's not unusual to have one tenth of a second make a 10 grid place difference. In all my long V8 Supercar life and despite growing up at the place I managed to only win one round at Symmons Plains, not a great record!
The Dunlop SP Sport Maxx soft tyre is in use in Tassie. A better tyre would be hard to find because the Tassie track is so easy on tyres. Even a super soft would be good on this surface.
I’m hoping that my friends at Wilson Security Racing and DJR will take an upward step in Tassie. Last year David Wall went well there and young Scotty Pye will be very keen to put that nasty brake failure induced shunt in the past! He certainly has the potential and ability!
Drivers are like that, even though they don't dwell on mishaps, they love to dong places where they’ve had issues!
Back in the day, Dick J was an ace at Symmons Plains, he used to flog me which was very embarrassing being the local boy! So DJR for a podium, ok!Let’s also remember the lap time, which is the shortest in the Championship. Pit stop strategy can be crucial, catch a safety car board at the wrong time and it kills your race.
Of all the tracks we race at, traction out of slow corners and braking power is most important. As is engine power – I think most of the engines are pretty close, maybe Erebus are a bit behind but now with Australians leading the engine program and inspired by Ross Stone, that gap will close quite rapidly.
I remember spending hours looking at Brad Jones’ braking techniques on the data because he was a ‘demon braker’ and used it to such good effect in Tassie. That will happen lots this weekend with drivers, braking can cost three tenths of a second and that can be five rows on the grid.
I imagine teams with four cars, the data information can be an overload for drivers. So much info can take away the natural flair and free styling way of the driver, over thinking about something that should be natural can be very detrimental.
Personally, I think driver data information should be banned. I thought so 15 years ago and I do so even more now. Let the drivers do their thing, in a freestyle manner.
Looking at how others achieve their lap times to me seems a bit impure. By all means, capture info about mechanical parameters so we don't have blow ups and unnecessary failures.
I know this is a bit radical but too much science can ruin the racing that us race fans want to see! What do you think? It would be as simple as disabling a few sensors.
I don't mean we do it right now, next year is the time.
Back to Symmons Plains, my pick is Jamie [Whincup]. He’s had a really tough time of late but he’s a Champion, don't write him off just yet! Certainly the same goes for the team Triple Eight. They are the kings, it's up to the others to knock them off the throne!
TICKFORD RACING ADDS JAMES MOFFAT TO CO-DRIVER LINEUP
Following a year where Tickford Racing honoured Allan Moffat’s legendary 1977 win at the Bathurst 1000, the Moffat name will again be celebrated in 2018 with the addition of James Moffat to Tickford Racing's co-driver lineup for the Pirtek Enduro Cup.