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HomeNewsDrivers get early Adelaide 500 track laps

Drivers get early Adelaide 500 track laps

A handful of drivers have had an early taste of the refurbished Adelaide Parklands Street Circuit ahead of official track action at the VALO Adelaide 500.

While the racing categories are only on track from Thursday, a Driving Solutions track day is taking place today (Wednesday) for road registered vehicles.

That has given not only a host of enthusiastic amateurs a chance to sample the circuit but allowed a couple of professionals to have an early look at the course.

Among those to take to the track was Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner, Dunlop Series young guns Declan Fraser, Kai Allen and Nash Morris, and GT4 entrant Paul Morris.

Although the track layout is the same as previously, a new surface laid from Turn 9 around to Turn 7 will be a big talking point through the weekend.

Supercars Driving Standards Advisor Craig Baird tackled the circuit in a Ford Mustang and noted the key differences.

“They haven’t taken the challenge out of it; it’s still going to be a demanding circuit. It’s just changed a few little things,” Baird told V8 Sleuth.

“There’s less bumps, particularly into Turn 4 and the kerb heights are slightly less, but not drastically because they obviously shaved the top of the asphalt off before they put the new asphalt down.

“It’ll be interesting what the grip level will be, but it’s hard to know that from a road car. A guy like Andre will have seen that the bumps are gone and that’s about it.

“Your reference points and braking points, we’ve got cones on top of the kerbs (for today), everything is totally different. They’ll all be pioneering (in practice).”

Supercars co-driver Jayden Ojeda also turned laps and echoed Baird’s comments about the surface. He thinks the track will be quick but says there’s a significant caveat.

“When they put down a new surface a lot of oils can come from the track,” Ojeda explained, having driven the circuit in a Porsche.

“So it depends on how much of that comes with the hot weather if that keeps up across the weekend, because they have had a fair bit of rain leading up until now.

“How many of those oils get to the surface and make it feel greasy, which can happen on a new surface, it can have an impact but if that stays away then I think we will see some quick lap times.”

A range of vehicles are taking part. Pic: an1images.com

Baird meanwhile downplayed any suggestion that lower kerb heights – particularly in the Senna Chicane – could cause issues policing track limits.

The system of monitoring kerb hopping with electronic sensors drew criticism from drivers last time out on the Gold Coast. As per previous years, Adelaide’s Turn 2 apex has a sensor installed.

“Last time we were here we moved the Turn 1 apex tyre bundle back a little bit,” Baird explained.

“If they can get the placement of the left-front tyre on top of that kerb, it allows them instead of going around that kerb to go over it.

“That took the pressure off the Turn 2 kerb strikes and meant it wasn’t really an issue.

“I’m comfortable with the system we’ve got.

“We can go through all their laps from Gold Coast and if they’re inside the line with all four wheels it’ll trigger it and if they’re not, it won’t.”

ONBOARD: A lap of the 2022 Adelaide 500 circuit

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