'It Felt Like F1': Supercars Drivers Loving New Track, New Night Race
"It feels like it's going a million miles an hour the whole time. It's cool."
With these words, Penrite Racing driver and former Bathurst champ Dave Reynolds said what was on every driver's mind after the first practice session of this weekend's Supercars event -- the PIRTEK Perth Supernight.
"It's bizarre but I love it, it's great," Reynolds added.
And he's right about it being great. Seriously, how cool did the "glowcars" look out there on the Barbagallo circuit on Thursday during practice?
They're not actually called "glowcars" by the way, but hey -- just look at 'em. Tell us they're not glowing.
This event -- to be broadcast on Network 10 from 8:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights -- is like few others in the history of the Supercars championship.
Yes, there have been night races before, at Calder Park (1980, 1997), Sydney (1996, 2018), and in Abu Dhabi (2010 and 2011).
But after the 2018 Sydney Supernight, which had temporary light towers around the circuit, there was a feeling that the track could be even brighter, the night event even bigger
Over to you, Perth.
“There were a few areas in Sydney that were a bit darker than ideal, so moving into Perth the plan was to ensure there is more light," Supercars TV boss Nathan Prendergast said.
Barbagallo raceway is tight at just 2.4 km, compared to Sydney's 3.9 km. That meant it was easier to light, and the 41 light towers and five stadium-type floodlights have done the job beautifully.
Indeed, organisers faced the challenge of not over-lighting it, so that the cars' glowing lights could look as awesome as they do. Enough light to see the whole track, not enough to spoil the atmosphere: that was the challenge.
Watching practice last night, you'd have to say they nailed it.
Dave Reynolds agreed. "It was quite eerie," he said, and we're pretty sure he meant that in a good way.
Other drivers loved it too.
But it's not just the time of day that's different this year at Barbagallo -- the circuit just north of Perth which first held a Supercars round in 1973, and has hosted a championship round every year since 1978, with the exception of 2010.
It's the surface of the track.
The circuit has been resurfaced since last year's Supercars round, for the first time since 2004. It's super grippy, super fast and for the drivers, so much fun that they're likening it to Formula 1.
"Night plus the new surface is crazy," 2019 Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin told the Supercars website.
"The first couple of laps took me a bit to get used to it all, but overall pretty happy. It’s really, really fun just driving it on the front tyre and hooking it in.
"It’s like a Formula 1 car. It feels like we have a heap of downforce even though we’ve been given a hair cut. So it feels all right."
Catch all the action from the PIRTEK Perth SuperNight this Friday and Saturday from 8:30-10:30 pm on Network 10.