Mark Skaife has denied that the Toll Holden Racing Team will have a home track advantage as the V8 Supercar Championship heads to Winton this weekend for the latest round of the year.
Five-time V8 Supercar champion Skaife pointed out that recent history shows a Queensland-based team had won the past two trips to Winton in North-East Victoria – where all Victorian-based teams including Toll HRT test – while Victorian teams have triumphed in the past three rounds at Queensland Raceway, where the Queensland teams are based.
Despite logging thousands of kilometres of testing at Winton, Skaife warned his team about relying too much on the data it has put together from testing.
“The Queensland teams winning at Winton and Victorian teams winning in Queensland shows both the test circuits don't really give you much, you don't pop out the end with a massive advantage,” he said. “It is one of those ones where, I think, sometimes a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. You try to predict where the track is going, rather than just race. Sometimes you make better decisions when you're not trying to predict what the car might do, based on previous visits.
“We go to Winton quite a lot and we know the place changes, particularly in the afternoons. There is a lot of change in the track as the day goes on. If you try to predict that, you make more problems for yourself in some ways. It is a weird phenomenon that the interstate teams can basically go and beat the home teams, it's very strange.”
Team-mate Garth Tander, locked in a battle for the championship lead with Ford's Mark Winterbottom, said he remained unfazed by the 122-point margin to his rival heading into the Winton weekend, which is the final event before the enduro events at Phillip Island and Bathurst.
“It's no drama, speak to me after Bathurst,” he said. “Winton's our home track, but it's also the FPR home track, while Triple 8 have been very strong there the past couple years. We'll be strong and the HSV Dealer Team will be strong also, so I think amongst us all it will be a ripper battle.
“It's a good opportunity for us to show we don't struggle in the wet if it's wet. Last year it was wet and we were very fast, so I don't believe it'll be an issue. If it is, I'm looking forward to getting out there, getting miles under our belts and getting on top of things.
“It's almost like the calm before the storm, the last sprint round before the enduros.”