James Courtney and Shane van Gisbergen have admitted that confidence will be the key to success as the V8 Supercar Championship Series heads to Surfers Paradise for the Coffee Club V8 Supercar Challenge.
van Gisbergen will be the youngest driver in the field, with the young Kiwi more than ready for his second stint at the circuit.
The 19-year-old admits he felt a little overwhelmed at last year's event but says that his building confidence in the SP Tools Racing Falcon will help him get on top of challenging street circuit.
“I raced at Indy for the first time last year and I struggled with confidence through the tyre bundles and chicanes a bit,” he said. “The Surfers Paradise circuit is all about confidence; you have to get comfortable enough to let the car run close to the walls, then you start to put in some good lap times.
“I was still living in New Zealand this time last year so this wasn't really a home race for me then; now I've been here almost a year and its great to be racing on the streets of Surfers. So many locals support the event, all the radio stations promote it, everyone is so into it; it's a great atmosphere and I'm really looking forward to getting out there in the SP Tools Racing Falcon and getting on top of the circuit.”
Courtney heads into the weekend buoyed by a podium finish alongside David Besnard in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The JELD-WEN driver has shone at street circuits in recent times and will hope to at least match his Bathurst result during the weekend's racing.
“I qualified front row in Surfers last year, and I've been on the podium at other street circuits such as Adelaide, Hamilton and Bathurst; I just really enjoy the challenge of the street races,” he said. “The Indy track is a typical street circuit; the car slides around on the bumps and you have to deal with running over man-hole covers, white lines, drains, and different cambers.
'It's a hard place to pass apart from a couple of places where you can throw the car down the inside on the bumpy braking areas at the end of the front and back straights; you've got to be really committed to make it work. You can't be 'gun shy' and you have to run the car close to the walls for a quick lap.
“Having said that, myself and the guys in the JELD-WEN crew are full of confidence this weekend. The car had plenty of speed at Bathurst, including fastest lap of the race, and there's no reason why I can't carry that momentum onto the streets of the Gold Coast. SBR's got a pretty good record at Indy and I'll be looking to keep that tradition going.”