PUKEKOHE, New Zealand — Despite leading today’s races at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, front-running Supercars drivers have questioned the 100km sprint race format for the weekend.
The ‘International SuperSprint’ format means four qualifying sessions and four 100km sprints to the line – no pit stops.
The same four race format is run at international event the Australian Grand Prix, and was intended for the racing in Kuala Lumpur this year.
Today’s race meant minimal passing at the front of the field, with the start the main opportunity for action.
New Zealander Scott McLaughlin, who finished third in race one and seventh in the second, doesn’t support the sprint races format, complimenting the category for making a switch to the longer races for most of this season.
“The races we’ve had over the year is just a testament to the series, and when you come here and go back to the old way we used to and how we had problems, it’s obvious why we changed,” the Volvo racer said.
“I personally don’t like it, I understand why we do it – saving costs, fuel rigs, all that stuff – but I personally think strategy always mixes it up.
“But at the end of the day we’ve got to think about the teams as well. What we’ve done this weekend is to help cash flow, especially coming to these fly away races.”
Race one winner Jamie Whincup agreed the races were more spectacular with more elements – despite having to deal with the possibility of the double stack with Championship leading teammate Shane van Gisbergen.
“Pit stops are good. We obviously prefer pit stops, I think we should do that over here,” Whincup added.
“I think we should come over here a couple of times as well if we can.”
Supercheap Auto racer Chaz Mostert offered a different opinion, saying no stops forced drivers to make a move to gain a position, rather than relying on passing in the pits.
“It’s something a little bit different,” he said after earning third place in the day’s second race.
“We used to have the 60/60 races and see people having a real big crack to get past – there was a lot of action as well.
“With our format all year, we try and wait for pit stops to try and make a move on someone or wait for better tyres; where today, if you wanted to move forward you had to have a really big crack. You’re a bit more desperate than what you would be.
“We’ll see if anyone else makes the moves tomorrow – but like I said, we’re all in a bit of a routine from the last couple of rounds.”
CREDIT: Supercars Media