Clipsal 500 2013 – The Race Days

DSC_0540After what felt like a week of waiting, Saturday was finally race day for Australian GT and the Koala Motorsport team.

However the first race wasn’t until 530pm on Saturday, which left a little time in the morning to get out and do some spectating.

DSC_0294Everyone seems to have their favorite spots to watch from around the track, and mine is the tight series of corners from Turn 4 to Turn 7. The only real downside is the lack of big screens, however free grandstand seating, lovely shade trees, nice surrounding houses and for some reason fewer bogans than other parts of the circuit make it top of my pick.

DSC_0295The slow corners also give you time to get a good look at the cars.

DSC_0377It also gives you the opportunity to have the most interesting conversations with other punters. I met one guy, drinking a beer at 930am, who told me he’s going to buy an Aussie Racing Car as soon as his work compo payout comes through, and another chap who informed me that some of the V8 Supercars have CD players so the drivers can listen to music to ‘get them in the mood for racing’. DSC_0420DSC_0421At Turn 7 you can stand practically right on the apex of the corner. As a normal spectator, it’s about as close to the action as you can get.

DSC_0615The Saturday crowds were huge, and the majority of our morning was spent letting people look over and sit in the 360. I have a memory as a 12 year old kid of a race mechanic letting me sit in one of the Ferrari’s at Clipsal, probably in about the year 2000. This time, a 12 year old kid came up to me and started asking about the Ferrari. First thing I did was ask him if he wanted to sit in it, and he jumped at the opportunity. I see it as just paying back the favor!

DSC_0005As the afternoon progressed it was soon time for the race, and Brenton prepared with his usual pre-race dance. Step one is the aeroplane…

DSC_0006… step two the ‘whoop whoop’, palms facing out…

DSC_0007… and step three, wait for applause, hands held up. Applause, sadly, was not forthcoming.

DSC_0018But once strapped in the car, it’s business time.

DSC_0042DSC_0046Last minute checks on the dummy grid, mostly a case of hurry up and wait.

DSC_0048It was a good chance to have a look at some of the other GT cars as their drivers prepared.

DSC_0052Aviators have to be worth at least a second around the track!

DSC_0058Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

DSC_0065DSC_0069DSC_0070AMG SLS GT3.

DSC_0075Porsche 911 GT3-R.

DSC_0096These guys were keen for the race!

DSC_0099One can only imagine what it feels like to be sitting on the grid waiting for the start of a GT race around the Adelaide Street Circuit. I’ll bet its a pretty special experience.

DSC_0107The GT races begin with a rolling start, which was headed by both of the Erebus Motorsport SLS’, driven by Craig Baird on pole and ex F1 pilot Christian Klein starting from second.

DSC_0102In pit lane we were eagerly watching the action unfold…

DSC_0165… and timing each lap. Despite being a little bit off his qualifying pace, Brenton was putting in a solid effort and making up places through the attrition of others. Brenton’s fastest lap of the race was a 1.34.86.

DSC_0239At about 20mins in to the hour long race, we called Brenton in for his compulsory pit stop. Some teams have two drivers and use the stop for a driver change, however with just the single driver we had to hold Brenton for the compulsory 40 seconds.

DSC_0244We used the time to check tire pressures…

DSC_0245… and took the opportunity to say hi to Brenton.

DSC_0159DSC_0275DSC_0277

DSC_0336After a lengthy safety car period caused by an oil spill comparable to Exxon Valdex at Turn 1, the race resumed with a rather hairy restart for Brenton. But he managed to keep his nose clear and finished in 18th place, 3 higher than he started.

DSC_0390Australian GT had the second race on Sunday morning, with race two lasting for half an hour; half the length of the previous evening’s racing.

DSC_0385This interloper showed up and looked more out of place than, well, a dragster in a field of international spec GT racecars.

DSC_0399What a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning!

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DSC_0411Another morning, another rolling race start. This time the second Erebus SLS had been punted off the front row by Roger Lago’s Gallardo LP560GT3.

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DSC_0453Brenton was on fire (not literally, this time) and was setting a cracking pace, almost two seconds quicker than Saturday’s race.

DSC_0516The car was running the best it had all weekend, so we saw no need to fiddle with it during the pitstop.

DSC_0472Brenton finished race 2 in 16th position, with his fastest lap time of the weekend – a 1.33.04.

DSC_0603With no more official team duties required at the conclusion of the GT race, we suddenly became ordinary, regular spectators.

DSC_0003Unfortunately due to Any Given Reason commitments I wasn’t actually able to see a whole lot of V8 Supercar racing, other than the first 20 or so laps of Sunday’s race. I quickly discovered that attempting to shoot through the catch fence is very frustrating, and without a huge zoom lens my only option was to shoot super slow, super blurry.

DSC_0024From my quick look at appears that the Car Of The Future has changed things for the better. If you’d told me 3 years ago that we’d have an ex DTM driver racing an AMG powered V8 Supercar I would have laughed at you, but here’s the proof.

DSC_0025It looks like the Erebus AMG’s ran around the back of the field for most of the race, but they were still hands down my favorite car. The sound they make is awesome! For those that haven’t heard it in person, it’s the perfect mix of V8 Supercar rumble and refined Le Mans racer howl. Excellent.

DSC_0021The Nissan’s, on the other hand, sound exactly the same as the Holden’s and Ford’s. Booo!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Brenton Griguol for inviting me to be part of his team, and to Simon, Fred and Cameron for welcoming me so kindly. I love exploring new sides of the sport we love, and it’s been fascinating to get a glimpse at what it’s like on the other side of the fence at such a high profile event.

And to our readers out there, I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at what it’s like to race a Ferrari GT car around the Adelaide Street Circuit. I hope I haven’t missed anything, but feel free to ask any questions you’ve got in the comments section, and whatever I can’t answer I will pass on to Brenton.

This is the final post in a 4 part series. Read the others here: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

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13 Comments

  1. goober March 3, 2013 Reply

    awesome stuff Andrew

  2. Tom Gilbert March 4, 2013 Reply

    Fantastic, thanks for getting us "behind the scenes" and for all the effort that goes into AGR. What a great wrap up.

  3. racecam18 March 4, 2013 Reply

    Really enjoy the way you present the photo's and comments, top stuff and keep it coming...., DON'T CHANGE!
    I hope AGR can get to the AGP!

    • Andrew Coles March 7, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback Cam, good to hear! I would love to go to the AGP again, but sadly this year I don't think it's going to happen. It's going to be really difficult too, because a whole bunch of mates from work, and my Dad, are all going. But that's okay - the money is going toward bigger things! :)

  4. goober March 4, 2013 Reply

    2014 is booked Andrew, 430 gt3 or 458 gt3, details to come by Friday
    cheers,
    goober

    • Andrew Coles March 7, 2013 Reply

      That sounds exciting! Friday is tomorrow... can't wait!

  5. Andrew Nuske March 4, 2013 Reply

    Great write-up of a great event! The weather was even absolutely perfect for it this year too. Can't wait for 2014 - hopefully the Nismos and Erebi can pick up some pace for the rest of the season to show the Falcodores who is boss.

    • Andrew Coles March 7, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback! The rest of the season is actually going to be pretty interesting. I was just reading then that the Erebi cars only had 2 test days and a lot less build time than the Nissan's, so the fact that they were even close to the money is still a pretty big achievement.

  6. Matt March 5, 2013 Reply

    CD Players? So that's where I've been going wrong! Well done, best Clipsal coverage I've ever read, with all the good points covered. Thanks!

    • Andrew Coles March 7, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback Matt, it's good to hear people are enjoying it. And yea the CD players were an interesting one, it took all of my energy not to say anything. Just smile and nod politely...

  7. Andrena D Clisby March 7, 2013 Reply

    Well done Andrew, great read....reminds me of the adventures I had in Classic Adelaide!

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