TICKFORD RACING – TOWNSVILLE 500 PREVIEW
8 July, 2021
The Supercars Championship returns to action this weekend in far North Queensland with the NTI Townsville 500, the sixth round on the 2021 calendar. The event marks the first true street race of the 2021 season, taking place at the Reid Park street circuit which has hosted Supercars since 2009.
Tickford Racing enters the weekend headed by Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) who sits fifth in the Supercars drivers’ championship. Townsville has been a happy hunting ground for Waters recently, where he scored five top five and two podium finishes across six races in two events in 2020, on top of a pole and podium at the circuit in 2019.
James Courtney heads to Townsville on the back of a strong performance three weeks ago at the Darwin Triple Crown that elevated him to ninth in the championship. The 2010 champion is a former winner on the Townsville streets, and hopes to add to his tally of six career podium finishes at the circuit this weekend.
Having strong race pace at recent rounds, Jack Le Brocq (No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang) has circled qualifying as a point of improvement heading into Townsville. Le Brocq, who turns 29 on Wednesday, aims to smoothen out his roller coaster 2021 season with a solid weekend in Queensland.
The NTI Townsville 500 is the sixth event on the 2021 Supercars calendar and will host Races 15 and 16 of the 2021 Supercars season. Two practice sessions open the weekend on Friday, followed by qualifying and a Top Ten Shootout preceding Saturday’s 88-lap, 250-kilometre race. Saturday’s schedule is duplicated on Sunday in Supercars’ first race event allowing refuelling since the Mount Panorama 500 in late February.
No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang
Jack Le Brocq
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Townsville, we have a doubleheader coming up which similar to last year but with different race formats, but I really love it up there. Great atmosphere, sunshine in the middle of winter, I’m really hanging out for it, hopefully it’ll create some great racing and we can have some solid results. The circuit’s really cool, it’s actually always been kind to me, which is probably a reason why I like it, but it’s got a bit of everything going on. Fast flowing corners, plenty of kerbs, surface changes, high tyre degradation which creates good racing, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be very interesting with some long races in the heat this weekend, but it should be a great challenge. I’m hoping this weekend is going to be a bit of a turning point for us, it’s been a bit of a tough season, but Townsville was pretty good to us last year and has been pretty good to me in the past. Fingers crossed we can get back up there in the top 10 consistently, and start pressing on for some more podiums and a bit more success.”
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
“I’m super pumped to get to Townsville, not just for one weekend but for two. We went pretty well there last year, it was probably the turning point for us with car speed, and we got a heap of podiums, so it will be good to get back up there. It’s nice and warm, and the car should work pretty well up there as well. I think the 250-kilometre races will be pretty full on around Townsville, we haven’t done them for a while and obviously street tracks make it a little bit harder physically as well. You’re driving up against the walls, the deg will be pretty full on around there, so I’m expecting it to be pretty challenging.”
No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang
“I always look forward to Townsville, the weather’s always nice, the atmosphere’s great, and it’s a great track for racing. We’ve started to find our footing recently with the Boost Mobile Mustang, which has been really positive. We had a couple top fives in Darwin but obviously lost one to a little penalty on the Saturday, overall though we’ve stepped up our package which is nice, and we’re heading to a track where the team’s been pretty strong at and I’ve been pretty strong at over the years. I think we’re a good chance so I’m looking forward to the weekend and hopefully bagging some more good points.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“We’ve had some strong performances at Townsville in recent years, and all of our drivers tend to like this track, so we’d certainly like to add to that this weekend. Obviously there’s a little bit of a curveball this weekend with it being our first refuelling round since the first round of the season, after so many sprint rounds a 250-kilometre race on a street course could spice things up a bit, but regardless of the format we feel our cars and our team are in a good position to deliver results. The team has found some promising gains in the cars over the last few rounds, so we’re confident that we can continue fighting at the front when we hit the track this weekend.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Following the postponement of the Winton SuperSprint in May, the Dunlop Super2 Series finally returns to action in Townsville for the second round of its 2021 season. Tickford Racing’s Zak Best (No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Falcon FG X) leads the Super2 standings heading into Townsville after he was promoted to event winner at the Mount Panorama 500 following post-event penalties to two rivals. The 19-year old makes his Townsville debut this weekend, but enters the event confident he can continue running near the front after a strong start to the season.
The Dunlop Super2 Series is on track from Friday in Townsville, with two practice sessions on Friday followed by group qualifying and a 21-lap race on each of Saturday and Sunday, making up Races 3 and 4 of the 2021 campaign.
No. 78 Best Leisure Industries Ford Falcon FG X
“I’m just looking forward to finally getting back racing. Obviously we were ready to go at Winton and then that was postponed so it’s been a long wait since Bathurst at the start of the year, but I’m ready to get back into it. Townsville’s a tricky track to get up to speed on, but I’ve done a lot of prep work leading up to this week to hopefully help me be on the money once we get into practice and then qualifying. Obviously coming out of the first round leading the championship was great, so our plan this weekend is to stay at the front end of the field stay clean, and score some solid points across the weekend.”
EVENT NAME: NTI Townsville 500
DATE: July 9-11
LOCATION: Townsville, QLD
EVENT NUMBER: 6 of 12
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 40-min DS2 practice, 2 x 40-min RSC practice; Saturday – 1 x 20-min DS2 Quali, 1 x 40-min RSC practice, 1 x RSC Quali (2 x 10-min rounds), 1 x Top Ten Shootout, 1 x 21-lap DS2 race (60 km), 1 x 88-lap RSC race (251 km); Sunday – 1 x 20-min DS2 Quali, 1 x 15-min RSC Quali, 1 x TTSO, 1 x 21-lap DS2 race (60 km), 1 x 88-lap RSC race (251 km)
CIRCUIT: Reid Park Street Circuit
DESCRIPTION: Townsville debuted on the Supercars calendar in 2009, with a hybrid circuit that is half street circuit and half purpose-built parkland roads. With its tall kerbs and heavy braking zones, Townsville is hard on equipment but regularly produces close racing.
TRACK RECORD: 1m12.93s (Nick Percat, 2017)
TICKFORD RACING BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom (2010, 2015 x 2), Will Davison (2013)