Team 18 drivers Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom have welcomed the longer race format for the last of four rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.
The Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight is the penultimate round of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship and serves as the precursor to the Bathurst 1000, with The Great Race serving as the only two-driver endurance race of the season.
The format for this weekend reflects the importance of preparing the drivers and teams for Bathurst after four rounds of sprint racing.
The distance increases from a 32-lap 125km sprint race to a 250km race involving refuelling, with two races on the program instead of three sprint races at the last three Sydney events.
In addition to the endurance element, a radical tyre allocation will see teams handed both the Dunlop hard tyre and the super-soft compound to use in each race.
The Dunlop super-soft tyre which debuted at the Darwin Triple Crown in June enables faster initial lap times but a significantly higher rate of degradation, while the hard compound is more consistent in its wear over a stint.
This weekend will also serve as crucial preparation for the team’s Bathurst 1000 co-drivers Michael Caruso and James Golding.
Caruso [co-driver for IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom] and Golding [co-driver for DEWALT Racing’s Scott Pye] will take part in a 40-minute additional drivers session on Friday to serve as their last laps in the car before arriving at Mount Panorama.
The schedule for this event involves two 64 lap/250km sprint races, the first on Saturday evening and the second on Sunday afternoon.
The grid for both races will be determined by a 15-minute all-in session, with the fastest 10 drivers progressing to a top-10 shootout.
Cars will hit the track for the additional drivers session Practice 1 at 4:40pm AEDT on Friday, with all races live on Channel 7 and Fox Sports, as well as Kayo Sports and Plus7 streaming services.
Scott Pye, driver – #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“I think the new format will be good and the timing of it is great.
“To have two 250km races heading into Bathurst is great for us to get our match fitness ready, and to have a couple of races that will involve a lot of strategy, not only with the hard and super soft tyre but also the weather is looking variable this weekend, so I think the racing will be really interesting.
“The car is looking great, the team have done a great job to turn it around, it looks brand new!
“It’s really tough for the guys, they’ve been working hard on the road for the four back-to-back events, and the racing has been pretty chaotic so they’ve had their work cut out for them in the week, so to roll in to the last weekend with the car looking brand new, I’m really proud of their efforts.”
Mark Winterbottom, driver – #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“It’s going to be a big weekend for the team.
“There could be a lot of rain on the way, so although we’ve got the super soft tyre in play there will be a fair bit of strategy involved as to when you use it during the races.
“It’s great to have a couple of longer races this weekend and having refuelling back involved will really help the transition into enduro mode in the lead up to the big one at Bathurst.
“It’s our last weekend here in Sydney so we’re looking forward to finishing on a high with a strong result heading to Bathurst.”
James Golding, Co-driver – #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“Today’s co-driver session is definitely important to get more laps in the car, however I don’t think it’s vital to our results at Bathurst.
“We’ve had a big lead up, there’s been a lot of time away from the track and a lot of anticipation so today is just about crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s and making sure we tick everyone off and our processes are right so when we get to Bathurst we can focus on dialling in the car and working on strategy to execute as best as possible.”
Michael Caruso, Co-driver – #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“It’s really exciting to join back up with the Team 18 and particularly Mark [Winterbottom] on the IRWIN car, we haven’t had much of an opportunity to work too closely together this year due to all the lockdowns.
“I think I’m one of the least-lapped co-drivers in the Supercar this year so it will be good to get back behind the wheel and get familiarised before what will be the biggest week of the year coming up at Bathurst.
“It’s been great having the team located in Sydney the past four weeks and being able to spend some time with them and I’ll look to do more of that again this weekend, that obviously helps on the communication side which is just as important as what I do behind the wheel come race day at the mountain.”
Beaurepaires Sydney SuperSprint, 19-21 November
Additional Drivers Session – 4:40pm (40 minutes)
Practice 1 – 7:45am (30 minutes)
TV Times, Fox: 2:15pm to 8:30pm AEDT
Practice 2 – 12:20pm (30 minutes)
Qualifying (Race 29) – 1:40pm (15 minutes)
Top 10 Shootout – 4:35pm
Race 29 – 7:10pm (64 laps)
TV Times, Fox: 11:35am to 9:45pm AEDT
TV Times, Channel 7: 7:00pm to 9:30pm AEDT
Qualifying (Race 30) – 10:50am (15 minutes)
Top 10 Shootout – 12:30pm
Race 30 – 3:15pm (64 laps)
TV Times, Fox: 9:30am to 6:30pm AEDT
TV Times, Channel 7: 12:30pm to 5:30pm AEDT