TICKFORD RACING – DARWIN TRIPLE CROWN PREVIEW
16 June, 2021
The 2021 Supercars Championship returns to action this weekend at the Darwin Triple Crown, where Tickford Racing will look to build on steady progress through the season’s first four events.
Following the postponement of the Winton SuperSprint to late July, Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) remains the most recent winner in Supercars after taking the chequered flag in Race 11 at The Bend Motorsport Park in early May. Waters sits fifth in the Supercars drivers’ championship and will look for additional silverware this weekend.
The Bend SuperSprint was James Courtney’s (No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang) strongest round thus far in 2021, elevating him to 12th in the standings heading to the Top End. Courtney, who scored his first podium with Tickford at Hidden Valley Raceway in 2020, is keen to build on that momentum across the weekend’s three races.
Jack Le Brocq’s (No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang) up and down 2021 season has shown glimpses of front running pace, and following a productive test day last month is confident in the No. 5 Mustang heading into the weekend.
Castrol Racing’s Thomas Randle (No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang) also returns to the seat this weekend in Tickford Racing’s wild card entry, the second of three such appearances in 2021. The 2020 Super2 Series champion was a standout at The Bend last month, scoring an eighth place finish in Race 10, the best race result a Supercars wild card has ever recorded, and looks to continue his progress this weekend, which marks his first time racing in the Northern Territory.
This Darwin Triple Crown also marks the debut of the Super Soft tyre by Dunlop, a new tyre compound designed to provide better traction but higher degradation than its Soft and Hard compound siblings, meaning drivers will struggle for grip later in stints that is expected to create more exciting racing. No teams have had dedicated time trialling the new compound, throwing another twist into a race event that is regularly action-packed.
The Darwin Triple Crown is the fifth event on the 2021 Supercars calendar and will host Races 12, 13, and 14 of the 2021 Supercars season. On-track action begins Friday with two practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s proceedings that include a Top Ten Shootout before Race 12, followed by qualifying and Races 13 and 14 on Sunday.
No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang
Jack Le Brocq
“It’s a really cool track up in Darwin. Awesome atmosphere, and the circuit layout’s really exciting as well, it’s got a bit of everything going on and makes for some really good racing, and with the heat it always spices things up. There’s a lot of tyre wear, and especially with the Super Soft tyre no one really knows what to expect with it all. It’s going to throw a few curveballs at us, but I’m looking forward to what we can do up there and hopefully we can have some solid results.”
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
“I’m super pumped to get to Darwin, it’s obviously nice and warm up there, and a good little holiday to get away from Victoria, so I’m really looking forward to getting up there. Obviously we had a very good run at Hidden Valley last year with a couple of podiums, and our car’s been in a good window lately so hopefully we can come away from the weekend with a few more trophies. It’s obviously nice and warm in Darwin so it’s a little bit harder in the car, but we’re pretty well used to it now, so I’m not really worrying about the heat too much. It’s a Super Soft tyre (round), so that’ll be a bit of a curveball for all of us, so hopefully our car’s nice and kind on its tyres and we can look after them, and that’ll (pay) dividends at the end of the race.”
No. 44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang
“It’s good to be heading back to Darwin, it’s a favourite of pretty much everyone’s and obviously we had a great run up there last year picking up a podium which was awesome. It feels like it has been ages since I’ve been in the car so I’m ready to get back into it. Our test day last month prior to Winton being postponed was really positive, we picked up some good things and gained a good direction on the car that we want to apply this weekend, so we’re pretty confident in our package coming in. Obviously the big question mark is the Super Soft tyre, how the grip level will change, how it will degrade, so we’ll have to think on our feet a bit, but everyone’s going to be in the same boat so we’ll just try to get on top of it before everyone else.”
No. 55 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
“It’s awesome to be doing back to back rounds, I really can’t wait to hit the Hidden Valley circuit. I’ve never raced there before, and also I’ve never been on the Super Soft tyre, but my first experience on it will be the same as everyone else, so I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Castrol Racing Mustang and giving it a red hot crack up there.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“It’s a bit of a reset for everyone, being away from the track for a few weeks now, but we’re looking forward to returning to the Top End and getting back on track. Everyone will obviously be talking about the Super Soft tyre and starting strong will be key, but fortunately running four cars gives us a wider spread of data and hopefully a bit of a leg up when it comes to finding the right set up. Darwin’s always been a great midseason event, and with the progress we’ve been making lately we’re feeling pretty confident that we’ll have a strong package that can contend at the front.”
EVENT NAME: Darwin Triple Crown
DATE: June 18-20
LOCATION: Darwin, NT
EVENT NUMBER:5 of 12
FORMAT:Friday – 1 x 40-min practice, 1 x 30-min practice; Saturday – 1 x Quali (2 x 10-min rounds, 1 x Top Ten Shootout), 1 x 38-lap RSC race (110 km); Sunday – 2 x RSC 10-min Quali, 2 x 38-lap RSC race (110 km)
CIRCUIT: Hidden Valley Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Hidden Valley Raceway is fast and technical, combining its kilometre-long drag strip with a winding circuit that regularly turns on the action. Darwin is also one of the hottest rounds of the year, with ambient temperatures in the 30s equating to cabin temperatures near 60° Celsius.
TRACK RECORD: 1m06.56s (Nick Percat, 2018)
TICKFORD RACING BEST RESULT:1st – Jason Bright (2006), Mark Winterbottom (2008, 2010, 2013, 2014), Steven Richards (2008), Chaz Mostert (2015), David Reynolds (2015)