News 16 Aug 2011

Waters and Lowndes compare Queensland Raceway notes

Team Suzuki's Josh Waters will be looking for big things this weekend at Queensland Raceway.

Team Suzuki's Josh Waters will be looking for big things this weekend at Queensland Raceway.

V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes and QBE Australian Superbike rider Josh Waters agree that Queensland Raceway is one of the country’s most deceptive and technical tracks to master.

This week’s Coates Hire 300 will see the 2+4 format feature at the 3.12km Ipswich circuit for the first time, and some of the most keen spectators will be the drivers and riders themselves, willing on their fellow racers from the pit wall.

Bathurst legend Lowndes from the Brisbane-based TeamVodafone needed few words to describe the mettle of ASBK riders.

“They’re nuts!” he laughed. “A single lap around Queensland Raceway on a bike is intense, I can’t imagine doing that for a full race.

“The Superbikes run over and hit bumps that we don’t, so it throws them around a lot more – it must be incredibly demanding on the body and a rider’s fitness.

“A V8 Supercar loses out slightly in straight line speed but makes that up with a bigger braking footprint, so our lap times are pretty much even.

“At least 60% of the V8 paddock love and ride bikes – myself included – so you’ll be sure to see us watching on closely on pit wall.”

The pair are good mates and often find themselves comparing laps from a two and four-wheel perspective.

“The main difference would have to be the amount of track that we can use,” said Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Waters.

“A car is obviously a lot wider so I would imagine the tight exit out of turns would mean it would be easy to drop a wheel off or drive off the circuit completely.

“You need to be smooth and controlled to get a good lap – brake too early and you’ve lost time, brake too late and you’re running wide and struggling to turn back in.

“I think we both agree that it’s a track that is a lot harder than it looks, on two wheels or on four, and I’m really looking forward to watching Craig and the rest of the V8 Supercar field fight it out.”

When it comes to pace, bragging rights currently sit in the ASBK corner, with the category minimum 165kg, 210+hp bike lapping around 1.4-seconds quicker than the 1355kg, 635+hp car.

ASBK riders will hit the track this week for a single 20-minute practice session before two 20-minute qualifiers, an eight-rider Superpole shootout and two 20-minute races.

The ASBK will race alongside Craig Lowndes and the V8 Supercars this weekend.

The ASBK will race alongside Craig Lowndes and the V8 Supercars this weekend.

Turn-by-turn: A Queensland Raceway analysis from the two and four-wheel perspective

Turn 1
Lowndes: We run 5th gear into turn 1 and aim to brake at the end of the merging kerb between the pit lane and race track. The limiting factor here is the bumps, it’s a very bumpy area. The middle of the apex of turn 1 also has another series of bumps that can upset the car quite a lot if setup is not spot on. There’s a short run between turn 1 and 2, full throttle without changing gears.

Waters: The bike is really unsettled going into turn 1. It moves around quite a bit and it’s hard to get right. I try to hit the inside kerb with my knee, that way I know I can pick up the throttle smoothly.

Turn 2
Lowndes: Turn 2 is definitely one of the most difficult, it’s an off-camber turn with a series of difficult bumps. Some drivers will try to take a different line through here, but it is traditionally a corner with slight understeer and exit oversteer.

Waters: The track is pretty rough here so you need to be smart. If you try to make up too much ground on the entry then you’ll lose it on the way out. The exit is crucial as it fires you onto the back straight.

Turn 3
Lowndes: The run down the back straight is flat out, you’ll hit a few bumps before braking hard on your own brake marker. The car has to ride these bumps otherwise you risk locking a brake. It’s down to second gear here and a good overtaking point. The entry is tight but opens on exit.

Waters: I brake just after the 200m mark for the entry into three, going from fifth to second gear from the run on the back straight. To get this corner right you need to drift out from the apex and stand the bike up nice and early so you can get on the power.

Turn 4
Lowndes: The run down to 4 is pretty simple and back hard on the brake again. It’s the first left hander of the circuit so the car will have a bit of understeer as the right front tyre will probably be not up to temperature.

Waters: The first of the double-left handers will see us go from fourth to second gear. Again it’s a place where you can seem to make up time but you will more than likely lose that advantage on the way out.

Turn 5
Lowndes: You can take this corner in second or third gear, depending on preference. Short shift or carry the throttle here to maximize speed and stability on exit, a small bit of understeer is normal.

Waters: It’s a short burst to turn 5 and I aim to hug the inside ripplestrip as close as possible when turning in.

Turn 6
Lowndes: The braking point into turn 6 is another good passing opportunity. Some take a traditional line, others will drive in a V-Shape. Good power down is essential as the car wriggles and bucks around here. It’s a big wheelspin corner and hard on the rear tyres. Grab the gears and quickly and you’re crossing the Start/Finish line before you know it.

Waters: This is the final corner and sets up another straight so you have to get it right. It’s a bit like turn 3 in that you can run it in too fast and find yourself wide of the mark. If you get your braking right then you are able to ride smoothly through the corner and stand the bike up early. If I look down at the dash and see a low 1:09 lap then I know I’m in the ballpark.