The morning started out picture perfect Saturday at Surfers Paradise for qualifying and races for V8 Supercars and the support series – V8 Utes, Mini Series, and Formula Fords. The V8’s qualify at 9:35 am local time, with a V8 Shootout at 10:50 am and a 300 km race at 1:35. That converts to 186.4 miles. There will be a winner from this race, but the winner of Sunday’s race will be the winner of the Armor All Gold Coast 600 race.
The skies were blue, breeze gentle and not a cloud in the sky. The street circuit is set in between urban high rises overlooking the track and beach, and in a parklands setting. It’s a nice sight on the footpaths behind Pit Lane, with mature trees and palms, grassy areas, and all kinds of water features – river, ponds, brooks, streams, and waterfalls. There are a variety of birds including screaming peacocks. Bridges of various kind are found which make portions resemble a Japanese tea garden. All in all a nice setting.
Usually the walk to the Media Center every morning is quite relaxing and beautiful. It goes from the bus stop at the Marriott Hotel on the outside of the track through the foot path under the course, through a tunnel and winding behind pit lane. However, with the full moon Friday night, the high tide covered the tunnel foot path and alternative routes had to be used.
For the half-hour V8 Qualifying session, the majority if not all the V8 cars will be qualified by the Primary Driver. The one exception is GIANNI MORBIDELLI in No.12 Bing Lee/Panasonic Racing, whose co-driver is DEAN FIORE. WILL POWER/No.6 Super Dunlop Dealer FPR Ford Falcon reckons he’ll be on pole as his co-driver is STEVEN RICHARDS, who held the fastest time through three sessions Friday, and won the 2007 Surfer’s V8 race.
The start for the two races is what is called a Staggered Standing Start. This feature is unique to the Surfer’s event. The Stewards likened it to a Formula One start. Instead of starting rows of two, there will be one car in each row, on opposite side of the track than the car ahead and behind.
After qualifying on Saturday there will be a Top Ten Shootout. The top ten V8 qualifying drivers will have a one-time lap qualifying run, which will determine the order for the top ten starters. It’s something like NASCAR qualifying, one car at a time. Some drivers like this, but not all.
For Sunday’s race another qualifying session is held that morning, which will determine the Sunday starting order. No Shootout on Sunday.
The V8 Supercars have been racing at Surfers Paradise since 1994, but as exhibition races like at the Australian Grand Prix Formula One race every spring in Melbourne. However, since 2002, they became part of the points championship.
By the time came for V8 qualifying, some clouds had moved in.