Smarts, not just speed, will be the key at this weekend’s V8 Supercars event in Townsville.
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom believes the Reid Park street circuit in north Queensland poses a different challenge each time the category races there.
Winterbottom holds a 95-point lead heading into the two-race event.
The Ford star won at the venue in 2012, but says past performance is often no indicator at the 2.86km circuit, which is 30 per cent street circuit and 70 per cent purpose-built racing circuit.
“Townsville’s a strange place,” Winterbottom said.
“In 2013, I got pole by about three-tenths and we were clearly one of the quickest cars, and then last year we had a qualifying average of 18th so year on year it can change so much.
“I’m not dwelling on last year’s results or getting carried away with the year before.”
Winterbottom believes tyre strategy will again play a crucial role in deciding who comes out on top.
Every driver has one set of soft compound tyres and two sets of harder compound tyres for each of the 200km races.
Winterbottom says working out the strategy that will work best during Friday’s practice sessions will be decisive.
“Working out what the scenario is going to be and how you are going to use them is going to be interesting,” he said.
“The smartest guy, the fastest guy, the guy that stays out of trouble and the mechanical reliability is what is going to win.”
Friday’s action will feature three 30-minute practice sessions, with a 200km race each on Saturday and Sunday.