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History will be made at Phillip Island this weekend with the 500th round of Australian Touring Car/V8 Supercars Championship. The WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint from April 15-17 will be the first Championship event in Victoria for 2016.

The first Championship event was held at Gnoo-Blas near Orange in February 1960. This weekend’s round will be the 27th at Phillip Island since the first round was held there in 1976.

Chris Pither had his debut with Super Black Racing at Phillip Island last year and is excited to get back to the circuit for the second time. “Given the last couple of rounds, I will be looking forward to a smooth run this weekend. Its been a hard few weeks I will be putting everything I have into making sure this a good one” says Chris.

It promises to an exciting weekend of racing after a dramatic start to the season at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide and the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint. Five races this season have so far produced five different winners.

The V8 Supercars Dunlop Series will return to Phillip Island for the first time since 2007, bringing with it a double-dose of V8 action.  Also featuring over the weekend will be the Aussie Racing Cars, V8 Utes Series and the CAMS Australian Formula 4 Championship.

Race fans can pitch their tent trackside for a budget-friendly $70 per person for the weekend.  The campground is just a short stroll from the track, offers great facilities and breathtaking views of Bass Strait. The very popular Park and View option returns this weekend too, giving fans the chance to park their car trackside just like the old days.

V8 Supercars practice begins at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint on Friday at 1.55pm local time, with the event broadcast live on SKY Sport and FOX SPORT across the weekend.

during the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint, in Launceston, Australia, April 02, 2016.

Super Black racer Chris Pither has spoken about the crash that left his Ice Break Falcon smashed up at the exit of turn four at Symmon Plains. The Safety Car was called on lap five, the V8 Supercar stranded though Pither walked away from the accident.

Pither is racing a spare Prodrive car, which is in fact a Dunlop Series chassis, after a substantial accident at the opening round the Clipsal 500. Replays of the incident were unclear, but Pither told v8supercars.com his side of the story and confirmed Nick Percat was the other driver involved.

“The outcome is just disappointing, I think we’ve been making some really good progress across the AGP and yup to this point this weekend and I just feel for my team, they’ve done a really good job and got no reward again.”Pither says he is fine physically after the accident.

Prodrive boss Tim Edwards hopes his team can avoid rushing the completion of a brand new chassis for Phillip Island.

2016 F1GP Melb

Today’s revised SuperSprint format at Symmons Plains is set to spice up the spectacle with strategy now a key part of the race.

Rather than two 60km races, Saturdays now host one 120km race with teams required to make one pit stop for four tyres after lap five.

When each car will take its stop – and whether it will take fuel on board – remains to be seen.

Some teams are expected to run the gauntlet with fuel consumption, while others will juice up to make it to the end of the race.

With grippy Dunlop soft tyres to run, and a high chance of a Safety Car at the deceptively tricky circuit, expect plenty of action for the first running of the Saturday race.

V8 Supercars sporting and technical director David Stuart believes the longer run is the way to go and creates a challenge for the teams.

“In my opinion it suits our cars better – it’s a longer distance and we’re a touring car category,” Stuart told v8supercars.com.

“We’ve got a compulsory stop in there to change four tyres because we’re racing on the softer tyre. The soft tyre is better grip and should provide a better racing spectacle.

“Particularly at this circuit, because of the time the guys spend at full-throttle, it means they’re going to be right on the limit of doing the race on a tank of fuel.”

It’s a 50-lap race, with average consumption 2.2 litres per lap. Each car has a 111-litre fuel tank.

It might seem simple – but electing to take fuel could mean spending more time in pit lane, and losing a possible personnel advantage.

Eight people are permitted for pit stops, with two playing roles related to refuelling. They could assist changing tyres to speed things up for those who decide not to refuel.

“You might see teams that will try and help their slowest wheel guy by helping him undo the wheel nut and take it off, and the other guy put it on,” Stuart explained.

“That will create different strategy options for different teams.

“If they think they can save a second or two seconds in the pit by doing that, and have to conserve fuel throughout the race … there might be some teams that won’t even have to conserve fuel.

“Either way, I think everyone will be on the limit.”

Sunday races are governed by a minimum fuel drop, which evens out consumption, discourages teams from running lean to the point of damaging engines and creates strategy options, as it requires two pit stops to complete.

But in Saturday’s case, a minimum drop has not been implemented as it would stifle strategy options.

The timing of the stop is also a consideration – some may choose to stop early if they think the soft tyre will last the distance and will aim to land the driver in clean air.

And look out for the safety car – it’s easy to go a lap down at Symmons Plains.

“This circuit throws up some really interesting racing – it should be a good show,” Stuart said.

Current champion Mark Winterbottom has strongly been in favour for the longer race and believes it will also have a positive affect on qualifying.

2016 F1GP Melb

This week the team will arrive at Symmons Plains Raceway for the Tyrepower Tasmania Super Sprint. The three day event will see Chris Pither leverage the strong drive he had at the Aussie GP. Lets take a look at the drivers view.

The Drivers View – Chris Pither: “After making good progress at the AGP, I’m excited to get back in the car and carry that momentum to Tassie. Like the AGP, my main focus will be on qualifying. The Symmons Plains circuit has the shortest lap on the calendar so we will see extremely small separation in the qualifying results and track position in the races will be crucial.

 The last time I drove at Symmons Plains was in 2005 in the Kanga Loaders V8 Ute. I have never driven a V8 Supercar at Symmons Plains, but it was a cool track in a Ute so it’s only going to be better in a V8 Supercar. I can’t wait to hit the track on Friday!”

EVENT NAME: Tasmania SuperSprint

DATE: 1 – 3 April    

LOCATION: Launceston, Tasmania

EVENT NUMBER: 2 of 15

FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 60-minute practice; Saturday – 1 x 15min practice, 1 x 15min qualifying, 1 x 50 lap race; Sunday – 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x 84-lap race

 CIRCUIT: Symmons Plains

LENGTH: 2.41-kilometres

DESCRIPTION: The circuit’s main features include a banked hairpin corner and a long back straight that should see the Prodrive Racing Fords reach near their maximum speed. The turn four hairpin and left hander at the end of the back straight are the two best passing opportunities. Brakes are worked very hard with two large stops within half a minute of one another. The banking at the hairpin makes for a unique opportunity to line up a good run out of one of the slowest corners on the V8 Supercar calendar.

TRACK RECORD: 51.47s – Rick Kelly, 2009

PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom (2010)

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It was a pleasing result on what was a non-points round at the Australian Grand Prix held at Albert Park in Melbourne. After the incident in race two in Adelaide it was important the team to look past it and come back strong. Chris did an outstanding job and was straight back to speed making consistent progress through the weekend.

Chris says “I am pretty happy. We made some good steps forward across the weekend and we’ve gained every time we’ve hit the track. We’ve got three top-15 finishes in a row and as long as we keep doing that, keep gaining; we’ll be knocking on the door of the top 10 soon. The Super Black Ford is feeling comfortable and we’re making good gains.”

Tim Edwards – Team Principal for Prodrive Racing:
“We’ve had a solid if unspectacular run but each of the four drivers feels they’ve gained car performance and learnt something so that’s encouraging. Cam’s little error aside we had a trouble-free day which is good given we’ve seen a lot of action in the last few days.”

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS
RACE 1
1) Shane Van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight
3) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
4) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Penske
5) Scott Pye – DJR Penske
10) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
14) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing
21) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team

RACE 2
1) Shane Van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight
3) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight
4) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Penske
5) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
12) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
13) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
15) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing
AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS

RACE 3
1) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight
2) Shane Van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
3) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight
4) Garth Tander – HRT
5) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Penske
6) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
11) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
13) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing
22) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing

RACE 4
1) Shane Van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
2) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Penske
3) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight
4) James Courtney – HRT
5) Michael Caruso – Kelly Racing
9) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
11) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
14) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
23) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing

EVENT POINTS
1) Shane Van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 294 points
2) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 245
3) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Penske: 244
5) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing: 212
12) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team: 127
13) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing: 123
16) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing: 112