After coming off a high at the Adelaide 500, I’m really eager to get back behind the wheel of my ZB Commodore for the Coates Hire Melbourne 400. It’s the very first time ever that the Grand Prix is for Championship points for us, which is going to create a very different feel, atmosphere and competitiveness among all the drivers and teams.
There are 4 Championship races over the weekend, worth 75 points each. The format is two 70km and two 130km races. Therefore, getting the most out of practice and qualifying is crucial. Pit stops have also been added again this year, so it adds another good element, but with pit lane very tight it will be important not to pit when others are.
The track is slightly different in it’s make up – it’s a little bit different than the last couple of rounds that we’ve been too – which are typically street circuit with short, fast corners. This track has much more longer, loaded corners with long accelerating points so the car set up has to change a little bit to adapt with the different track style.
The track is 5.3km long and the average lap speed is 01:55 – 01:57. The tyre degradation is high, so running SuperSofts will be interesting to see how they go over the race – which will ultimately dictate strategy.
The 2017 Grand Prix obviously wasn’t for points, therefore we could try different set ups – so for us we tried a ‘standard set up’ and finished 9th and the next race we tried a completely different set up and we finished 16th, the third race we tried a proper set up and we finished 6th and then on the last race on the Sunday we went for a wild set up and finished 10th. This year however, we won’t really have the luxury as such to play with as many set ups. But hopefully all of our results are up the front.
My favourite points of the Melbourne Grand Prix are that I live across the road from the track, therefore I get to walk to work and it’s an F1 event. The F1 being the pinnacle of world motorsport, so any time you can get to the Grand Prix – it’s pretty special! It’s great to see lots of people turn up and it’s just a fun weekend!
Here’s hoping we can bring home some decent results and maybe even get up on that podium again!
See you at the track!