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Drivers to test track limits in GC500 practice

EXPECT to see Supercars drivers using Friday practice at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 for a particular type of testing the limits.

One of the key talking points ahead of this weekend is the removal of tyre bundles at the beach chicane, with an enhanced sensor system instead implemented as a means of policing track limits.

Leading driver Chaz Mostert has welcomed the move on safety grounds, tyre bundles having been a major contributor to the multi-car pile-up in the Sunday Surfers Paradise race last year.

The focus will now turn to the sensors themselves, given the punishment for a kerb hop in practice and qualifying/Top 10 Shootout is the deletion of that particular lap time. That could have a major impact on the starting grid, at a circuit where track position is king.

Mostert said the shake-up will heighten the importance of Friday running.

“I’m sure we’ll get heaps of triggers of sensors and trying to find those limits in practice,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“But we’ll have practice and hopefully a system that works and is reliable with information back to the dash and to the driver as quick as possible to learn those.

“I’m interested to see how it unfolds because I haven’t really been to any other racing around the world that has so many trigger loops in such a short time but we’ll just have to see how it is.

“As long as it’s safer for everyone, that’s the main thing.”

Mostert’s Walkinshaw Andretti United teammate Nick Percat led calls at the 2022 edition for tyre bundles to be scrapped and feels sense has prevailed.

“There will be a bit to play out with just what sensors are turned on and what aren’t in the back chicane, because it’s very self-policing,” said Percat, who also thinks the lack of bundles will aid passing at Turn 11.

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“Last year when someone took out the tyre bundles in the Saturday race, there was nothing there in the back chicane and we couldn’t actually go faster because you were going to break the car.

“So I think it’s going to be way better and obviously hopefully we don’t see an accident like last year.”

Speaking on this week’s Castrol Motorsport News Podcast, Supercars race director James Taylor expressed confidence in the upgraded technology.

“The sensor technology has improved and the way we can police it is really accurate,” Taylor told host Will Dale.

“We have a second stage for judging if it’s accurate or not, which we will be testing during Practice 1 and Practice 2 prior to qualifying.

“So it’s just an enhancement. There were some queries and everyone has a comment that the apex bundles have been removed due to the Gen3 car; this discussion has commenced prior to the season, it started last year when we were at the Gold Coast.

“But we have been able to consistently now prove the technology. It started firstly at Eastern Creek with the track limits at Turn 5 and Turn 8 and 9, and we have been able to implement this again at Gold Coast.”

In the podcast, Taylor also reveals static cameras as the back-up method of kerb policing if needed, and discusses the Full Course Yellow and Safety Car speed limiter testing going on this Friday with a view to 2024.

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