A sweltering forecast for the Clipsal 500 has V8 Supercar drivers sweating over their cooling systems, predicting retirements and pondering new ways to avoid the heat.
After hitting 33 on Friday during qualifying, the temperature is predicted to rise to 39 on Saturday and 38 on Sunday – the race days around the Adelaide street circuit.
Temperatures inside the car rise much further, generally another 20 degrees on outside conditions.
Driving a state-of-the-art touring car at speeds of more than 200km/h in that heat doesn’t sound like fun to six-time series champion Jamie Whincup, who has proposed a radical solution.
“If the temp got that hot, we probably could split that race in half on Sunday,” he said.
“I don’t think we need to do that at this stage. It’s not crazy.
“But if it topped 40 or so, then no doubt the organisers will make some changes to help out.”
On Saturday, drivers compete in two 125km races which will take around an hour, and Sunday hosts a two-hour 250km race.
V8 Supercars rules stipulate drivers must wear specially designed cooling race suits that pump frozen water and helmet fans on race days when the temperature is forecast to top 32.9 degrees.
Whincup said if the cool suit failed, it would be game over in Adelaide.
“If the cool boxes fail, generally you slog it out. But I think it’s going to be a race stopper here this weekend,” he said.
“Don’t go calling us soft if you hear of a cool box fail and someone’s in pit lane getting it fixed.
“You’ve got a suit on, full of water, that ends up being a hot water bottle.”
Chaz Mostert, who claimed pole on Friday for race two of the series, said he felt comfortable around the track so far.
“The cool suit seems to be working well and everything else in the car,” he said.
“If those things stay on, it’ll still be hard but it’ll make it easier. If one of those things fail, it’s going to be a long day.”