MFL Sports Ambassador Nick Percat Darwin Triple Crown Preview
Supercars has had a decent three-week break since Winton and now finally I get to leave Melbourne’s winter weather behind and head north to the warmth of the Northern Territory!
Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway is my favourite purpose-built track in the country.
This year we’re running on the Supersoft tyre, which will create good racing because the cars have good grip that in turn give us the confidence to pass.
Unlike some other racing circuits, Hidden Valley has lots of passing opportunities. I’d say Turn 1 is one of the biggest areas to gain advantage. It’s at the end of the kilometre-long straight where we go from speeds of upwards of 265km/h into a second-gear, tight corner.
In the middle of the lap we have the hairpin, where we get back to first gear. It’s actually one of the slowest corners on our entire calendar and offers lot of opportunities to pass particularly during the first few laps of a race when the field is still quite bunched up.
Of course, the big talking point at the Darwin Triple Crown is always the heat. We’re looking at ambient temperatures of around 30 degrees celcius, so I’d expect it to reach 55- 60C inside the car.
Naturally we’ll be armed with cool suits and ice vests during the race, but what many people don’t know is that it’s important to start hydration early. You can’t typically get your body ready within a couple of days, you need to start a hydration plan 5-6 days out from getting in the car. I know most of us will be doing that as it’s so important to be really well prepared for the heat, both in and out the car.
As a team, we will be trying quite a few different things during Friday’s two practice sessions. We are trying to come up with a new baseline set up for Car 8, (by baseline I mean the set-up we carry over to each race meeting that we roll the car out of the truck with).
With relatively short practice sessions, if you realise you need to make a major change then you sacrifice a lot of track time.
I continue to be impressed by Brad Jones Racing. The team are always working hard to improve and evolve the car. I think a few of those bad runs earlier in the year have hampered our development, particularly our learning on the new tyre. But it’s been helpful to have had some time after Winton to go through the cars and make the changes that we want.
Between events I’ve done some corporate days with the guys and girls at Holden at the proving ground in Victoria, which was good fun. Other than that, I’ve been spending quality time with the two bears Douglas and Nelson, who have decided that their new favourite game is digging plants out of the garden and eating them. The joys of owning two Labradors!
Finally, my car is running a pretty cool livery at this event. It’s another Holden livery that has been designed by a local inidigenous community up in Darwin, and I’m really wrapt with how it’s turned out.
Remember you can follow me on social media for updates across the event.
Instagram - @nickpercat
Oh and you can follow Douglas and Nelson too on Instagram - @choclab_doug_nelson.