Fabian Coulthard is expecting there to be a “NASCAR feel” to the rapid-fire Supercars schedule set for the coming weeks.
The Aussie series is facing at least four consecutive weekends of racing starting in Darwin on Saturday, with a double-header at the Hidden Valley circuit followed immediately by double-header in Townsville.
As revealed by Motorsport.com that stretch is now likely to end up being a run of seven race meetings in nine weeks, with a Queensland Raceway double-header in September book-ended by two free weekends, followed by the Bathurst 1000 on October 8-11 to close the season.
Speaking ahead of the rapid-fire run of races, DJR Team Penske star Fabian Coulthard says he’s expecting it to be reminiscent of NASCAR in terms of week-in, week-out action.
“It’s going to be short, sharp events from here until the end of the year so it’s going to make it pretty interesting and give it a bit of a NASCAR feel I think,” he said.
“We’ve done one week back-to-back, but to do four in a row… even through my karting days I’ve never done anything like this.
“I’m excited, I think it’s going to be great for the sport. It’s going to put Supercars in front of the TV, in front of fans on a weekend-by-weekend basis, which I think is important for our category.”
The packed schedule has come courtesy of second COVID-19 waves in both Victoria and New South Wales, which effectively has seven of the 10 teams on the run due to border constraints.
Motorsport.com understands the affected teams have indicated to Supercars they would rather stay on the road and finish the season early, rather than return to locked down areas and then need to quarantine later in the year.
Coulthard agrees the best solution is to race as often as possible while the non-Queensland teams are on the road.
“Obviously the commitment that they have gone to to make sacrifices and be on the road for, I think it’s 38 days already, is a credit to everyone from Melbourne and all the teams down there,” he said.
“I think personally, the fact that they aren’t home, the best thing to do is to keep the ball rolling and keep the wheels turning and race weekend after weekend.
“Obviously it’s tough on the families, the fact that they’re not at home with their loved ones, but the other side of the coin is these next few races are now going to be tough on all of the teams.
“You’ve got to make sure that each race is clean, you don’t damage your car, there’s absolutely no time to fix it between events, so it’s going to put a lot of pressure on everyone.
“This last part of the year is going to be pretty interesting but I think Supercars have implemented good things and are doing the right thing to try to get this season wrapped up with the required amount of rounds to fulfil [the] Fox [Sports] requirements and things to keep this sport going.”
According to Coulthard’s teammate Scott McLaughlin, the gruelling run of races will be physically tougher on crews than it will be on drivers.
“It’s something that we haven’t done before, race week-in-week-out,” he said.
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