Holden will make comeback

15 May 2012
, CarsGuide
Holden will make comeback
The Commodores will stage a big comeback this weekend at Phillip Island.

But the Commodores will stage a big comeback this weekend at Phillip Island. The Commodore has better high-speed stability at the rear than the Falcon and that is vital on such a fast-flowing circuit. 

Plus, you can largely forget about results so far this year and wipe the slate clean this weekend.

For the first time since 2009, we are doing two sprint races at the island, not enduros, so much of the car set-up from previous years will be irrelevant. Being a sprint format we have to work the tyres much harder and get the car to steer quite sharp instead of looking after the tyres.

We are also racing on hard tyres only this weekend so there won't be any of the soft tyre strategies of the past few races.This track is tough on tyres due to its high-speed nature.

There is a lot of load generated on the rubber through the corners, especially the front right. But the hard tyres still generate very good grip around this circuit because we can get a lot of temperature into them.

There are a couple of variables we will be looking at this weekend which play a big influence on races at Phillip Island. One is the changeable weather and the other is the wind. In several places on the track you can be facing into gusty wind that can completely upset the balance of your car.

They are the approach to Honda corner, up past the Hayshed and coming on to the main straight. If you get a big gust of wind it can lift the front of the car and move it around. It is one of the few tracks we have a problem with the wind.

The Superbikes again share the bill with us this weekend and they really suffer from being blown around by the wind. They sometimes drill holes in the bike fairing to counter the wind, but of course we can't do that.

I have a bit of a secret weapon in my good mate Josh Waters who is leading the Superbike championship for Suzuki. He will be able to give me reports about the changing weather, track surface and, of course, wind direction.

Phillip Island is a circuit all racers find exciting. We hit about 284km/h on the main straight and go into turn one at 200km/h. You have to hold your nerve as you hold it flat through the challenging Hayshed section and it's a really fast entry to the main straight. There are also some great elevation changes and a couple of slow corners thrown in to mix it up. I don't see it as a dangerous track, but certainly challenging.

I can only imagine how exciting it is for the bike riders who nudge 300km/h on the main straight and have to contend with those wind gusts on those lightweight bikes. Phillip Island has been kind to me over the years. I hold the qualifying and race lap records and have the most pole positions. However, I'm second in the number of wins with eight, just one behind my old mate Skaifey.

I have the chance to match and then go past his race record, but as attractive as it would be to knock Skaifey off the top, that won't be what I'll be focusing on. Of course you always go out to win, but it's not the record books I'm after. It's a championship that I want.