Todd’s blog: Sydney under lights
What a truly incredible spectacle the inaugural Sydney SuperNight 300km race turned out be! I absolutely loved every second of the whole event and based on the crowd and TV statistics, it was a huge success.
A big congratulations to everyone at Supercars for recreating the night racing concept and creating an awesome atmosphere for us all.
The event for the team and I at Matt Stone Racing provided some good highlights and true glimpse of the potential we have. Although we finished in 23rd, it could have been so much better for us as we were on track for our best result of the season.
With only a short amount of practice on Friday night and mid-afternoon Saturday, we put a lot of emphasis on race pace as apposed to just being fast over one lap in qualifying. I feel this approach for 300-kilometres of racing paid off well as we had great speed over all our stints.
I managed to get a good start and by Turn 1 I had made up four spots, which was a cool feeling.
The first handful of laps was just out of control, it honestly felt like there was no lighting around the circuit. As cars were dropping wheels, throwing up dust and not being able to see, it created some pretty crazy racing.
As the race settled down, I was able to make great ground on some of the cars around me. Our tyre life was really strong and I was really focused on driving the car nice and straight to look after the longevity of the tyre.
In all of our stints, our overall pace was really strong. It was great to be able to pass some cars and make great progress. It was shaping up to be a really strong race for the team and I.
We just finished our series of pit stops for the race and went into the final stint with a set of fresh green tyres. The race was shaping up to be a really strong for us and with a heap of points up for grabs, there was no better time to claim some much needed championship points.
As I arrived on the front straight for the first time after my pit stop, I was lining up Nick Percat for a pass into Turn 2. While this was happening, my rear wing end plate failed and dislodged itself from the mount that hangs off the boot lid.
As I approached the Turn 1 braking zone, my team saw the footage on TV and warned me straight away that I had a rear wing failure. Unfortunately, the whole wing cord and both end-plates fell off the car and this sent the car into a spin around 260kph.
Not going to lie, it was a pretty freighting feeling and though I was going to end up in the fence. After a couple of 360s, I was able to put it down a couple of gears and get the car out of the sand trap.
— Supercars (@supercars) August 4, 2018
I nursed the car back to pit lane and the team made the required repairs so I could rejoin the race.
Looking back at the final result, we could have potentially finished around 13-14th position, which would have been awesome the the team and I, but it just wasn’t our night.
Fortunately I was able to bring the car home and finish 23rd, claiming some crucial points for the team.
Overall, it was great to have some good race pace and show the potential of the team and I. Racing under lights created so many new challenges for us drivers.
Not only was it super dark, but approaching turn one at 260kph and not being able to see the apex on entry was just crazy.
It definitely came down to being brave and simply trusting that the track hadn’t changed from the lap before.
Debris on the circuit was really trick to spot, particularly as the race progressed with lots of marbles and debris no more than half a car width off line, so passing cars made it really interesting.
The other challenge we faced was the amount of glare and reflection inside the car when in combat with others around you … the mirrors was filled with so many lights and reflections, it was hard to work out if it was a car or just the flood lights based around the track.
I absolutely loved the challenge and thrill racing at night. Hopefully Supercars will continue the night racing formula in the future.