Night Races bring ‘new life’ to 2018 V8 Supercars season

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The 2018 V8 Supercars season is nearly 3/4th of the way through the season, and the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300 brings ‘new life’ to the calendar.

Involving the first night races in Australian Touring Cars since 1997, the updated race format is bound to generate plenty of interest. Media and publicity around the Sydney Motorsport Park event have created a wealth of interest, to bring the season to life.

300-points on offer, the 300km/77 lap race is set to present a fresh challenge.

Night Races bring ‘new life’ to 2018 V8 Supercars season

After 20 races, the Virgin Australia V8 Supercars Championship is balanced in the favour of speedster Scott McLaughlin. But in this ‘unknown factor’ of the series, and there is only one driver still in the field who has experienced anything like it.

Craig Lowndes was part of the Mobil 1 Holden Dealer Team in 1996, when the races were held at Sydney, followed a year later by Calder Park. His experience in ’96 can be of benefit to his Autobarn Team, although the engineering has improved by a factor of 10.

Drivers will now have a 40-minute practice session on Friday evening, then another practice session and ARMOR ALL Qualifying on Saturday afternoon/twilight before the showpiece – 77 laps under lights from 7:20pm.

While Lowndes is the only veteran of night races on Australian soil, then he is joined by other veteran drivers who are just as excited by the fresh schedule. Garth Tander raced in Abu Dhabi [see below] and fondly remembers the last venture at Sydney.

“Under lights is going to be a bit different. You think back, we’ve all done racing at night in go-karts and for me back in 1997, I was in Formula Ford’s. The cars will look really spectacular, glowing brake discs and all sorts of stuff going on, hopefully a bit of flame out of the exhaust on the gear change, and that sort of stuff.”

Tander will compete against Lowndes, Fabian Coulthard (above), his team mate McLaughlin and the bunch, to take out this unique race. And he thinks it will make the racing feel different. He told

“The cars will feel faster too.”

“I remember when I used to race go-karts as a kid at night time, everything felt like you were going 400 kilometres an hour. Hopefully’ driving a Supercar around here and braking hard at the end of the front straight, will be pretty cool.”

Night racing returns to 2018 V8 Supercars

Some fans may recall the brief venture to the Middle East for V8 Supercars.

Abu Dhabi in 2010/11, was the setting at the high-tech Yas Marina Circuit – opened in 2009. A unique setting, and a unique stage in the history of Australian motorsport.

That brief venture was an experiment that has been re-evaluated, and the ‘wow factor’ of racing at night has been brought back to the Sydney Motorsport Park in 2018. The Virgin Australia V8 Supercars Championship should be congratulated on their ambition.

On Saturday night, it will be a ‘whole new ball game’. The format is popular in the United States. NASCAR, IndyCar and Midget Cars (Speedway) all engage their race fans with night races. The time is right for Australian motorsport to reinvest in the format. After Saturday night, fans and race car drivers might all agree….it is spectacular!