When the TCR Australia Series takes to Mount Panorama on Saturday and Sunday, it’ll be the longest the cars have raced in the category’s history.
All three races are scheduled to last 50 minutes, the longest in any of the seven SpeedSeries rounds to date this year.
Notwithstanding safety car interventions, that should see them take in a little under 400km of racing all told.
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Earlier this year, the series featured on the Bathurst 6 Hour undercard. At that race meeting, there were tire failures and mechanical gremlins for some.
This year’s Bathurst International will see the series run on a new compound of tire, however, the thought of attrition is on the minds of some drivers.
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For Garry Rogers Motorsport driver Dylan O’Keeffe, there’s a lot to consider.
“We’ve never done races this long, but there are a few things we’re predicting,” O’Keeffe said.
“Firstly, tire conservation will be a factor – we’ve seen that the cars can use their front tires quite aggressively over a race distance.
“Bathurst is not as hard on tires as some other tracks, but it’s still something I’ll have to take into consideration with my driving technique.
“Secondly, we’ll be starting with a heavy fuel load that will burn down as the race progresses, so the balance of the car will change considerably between the start and finish.
“There will be cars that will be fast early, and others that come on strong later in the race, which will make things interesting.
“Fortunately, I’ve had plenty of experience doing long stints in the Bathurst 6 Hour and Bathurst 1000 this year, so I’m feeling well prepared.”
O’Keeffe enjoyed a solid start to his season and sat second overall for much of it but has faded as the year has worn on.
He now finds himself mathematically in the running, albeit an outside shot at the title coming into the season finale.
The Peugeot fleet was the quickest when the series last raced at Mount Panorama at the Bathurst 6 Hour – and O’Keeffe hopes that’s the case again at the Bathurst International.
“The Peugeots are very quick over a lap, but their strength is over the top of The Mountain, between Griffin’s Bend and Schaeffler Forrest Elbow,” he said.
“It’s difficult to overtake through those sections of the track, so it will be important to qualify well and stay up the front of the field.
“A top three result in the championship is still well within reach, so that’s our aim to close out the year.
“While we’ve been consistently in the lead pack all season, I haven’t won any races yet so that’s a box I’m also aiming to tick.”
The TCR Australia Series will be part of a blockbuster card across November 11-13, which will be shown live and ad-free on Stan Sport from 11:30am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday.
The Nine Network will also offer live free-to-air coverage on Saturday afternoon from 3pm on 9Gem.
Nine Entertainment Co (the publisher of this website) owns and operates the streaming service Stan.
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