4 April 2022 | General

S5000 lap times ‘up to 10 seconds faster’ on revised AGP layout

THE revised Albert Park Grand Prix circuit could see lap times up to ten seconds per lap faster when the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship returns to Melbourne this weekend. 

That’s the word from someone who knows – former S5000 race winner and current Supercars racer, Thomas Randle.

The Victorian’s day job is operating Dream Simulations, which has not only an accurate model of the revised Albert Park circuit, but also a realistic computer model of the Rogers AF01/V8 S5000 package.

Randle qualified on the front row when S5000 made their Albert Park debut in 2020, prior to the event being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fastest lap in qualifying was a 1m50.6520s – a benchmark he expects to be toppled by a significant margin thanks to the revisions to the circuit in place for this year.

“From our simulation model, I think the best times will be in the mid 1m41s,” Randle explained.

“Our S5000 model is good; I’ve got to within one-tenth of the pole time at Symmons Plains, so we know the car is accurate.

“I’ve achieved mid-41’s using the revised circuit which is obviously quite different to what was there before, so it’s a significant change.

“There are some variables with the new track surface, but having ridden the new layout at the weekend I’m pretty confident that our model is very accurate.”

The new circuit has been dramatically changed: Turns 1 and 3 widened to promote better racing, Turn 6 dramatically altered and the former Turn 9/10 chicane removed all together.

It means the run from turn six through to what is now the high-speed Turn 9 left-hander is set to be significantly faster than ever before.

Several current S5000 drivers have already spent time on the Dream Sim in a bid to hasten their learning process ahead of practice this Thursday.

“In an S5000 it’s going to be in top gear and about 285km/hr,” Randle said.

“It’s properly fast and Turn eight, which is basically the sweeper around the lake, is hard to drive in these cars.

“You’re approaching Turn 9 at high speed and basically still turning the car so it’s going to be a huge challenge to get right.

“The walls are right on the yellow line outside the corner so there’s no room for error.

“Turn 6 has been dramatically changed and it’s over 140 km/hr now. It’s very different.”

Randle said his simulations had also pointed towards better racing at Albert Park – though S5000 is yet to turn a competitive racing lap in anger at the 5.3km circuit.

“The changes to what is now Turn 11, where you stop harder and turn later, should promote better racing,” he said.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see it all play out this weekend.”

S5000 hits the track this weekend for two practice sessions and qualifying on Thursday, before one race each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday’s action plus races one and three will be shown live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports, with further broadcast details to come.

Find out more about Thomas Randle’s Dream Simulations business by visiting their Facebook page here.