Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Feb Mar 2018 Issue 103 Contents 56
“When the format of the race was introduced, it
completely changed the whole dynamics of drivers and
training and fitness,” says Lowndes.
“There were about two or three drivers that had to get
pulled from the car with exhaustion, so it really showed
where the level needed to be for driving in Supercar at
“Every driver, including myself, was definitely under
prepared for that style of racing. The car interiors have
definitely changed with the cool suits and helmet blow-
ers and all that, but the temperature over there just
makes it harder even today.”
Radisich, who featured in the Adelaide 500 highlights
many times, says it was a combination of a number of
factors that day that led to his demise.
“We had great pace and we were right up the front,”
he explains. “There were a lot of fumes in the cars and I’d
run out of water, and that is the bottom line. I remem-
ber going down the pit straight and one eye was open,
one eye was closed and was looking at the pitboard and
thinking, ‘Surely I can’t be going that slow?’
“I had the presence of mind to realise that there was a
problem and got back to the pit lane and when I stopped,
I just literally fell asleep, collapsed.
“I was definitely not prepared for 250km races around
a track like that. The brake pedals themselves were on
fire and the amount of pressure you needed to slow
those cars was all my 75kg could give on every lap. So
you put that combination together with the fumes, the
heat, the heat of the pedals, the pedal pressure, and the
challenge of such a tight track and no air, and no water,
it was literally pushing weights and running in a sauna
for three hours.”
The drivers prepared better as athletes, the engi-
neers worked on the cars to make them a less hostile
workplace and strong enough to cope with an extended
pounding on the street track. The challenge for survival
remains, except for the time when they changed the Sat-
urday into two by 125km races. That was lunacy since it
was the format of the race weekend and the track that
created something special. It was, and still is, the great-
est challenge in our sport.
Having such a big race on the Saturday was the hard
bit. It meant driver recovery was critical on the Satur-
day night. Rehydrating after a tough race, ice baths,
swimming to get rid of the lactic acid build-up, saline
drips, commercial refrigeration units and pretty much
anything else anyone thought of was tried. By Sunday
morning the limp drivers were fresh as daisies and ready
for another pounding.
“I think that I’m probably the only one now on the
grid that actually remembers the old original Formula 1
layout, so I can look back on both,” says Radisich.
“The track layout is for us is very challenging; I always
classify Adelaide as one of the toughest races of the year,
because of the layout, because of the temperature and
also being the first race of the year. It really is something
that does challenge all drivers.
“It’s just different. I think that we would always love
to go back to the original layout just for allowing us to
have a rest.
“The old Brabham Straight allowed drivers to have
a little bit of a rest, where the current track layout is
definitely busy; you’re constantly up and down the gear-
box, on the brakes. always thinking of the next corner
and looking for a pass. We always talk about Turn 8; if
you can carry speed through there there’s no doubt that
you’ve got a passing opportunity down into that hairpin.
But Turn 8 carries its own risks. Turn 8 hurts.”
What was important, though, was the combination of
corners that allowed overtaking. The Senna Chicane run
up to Turn 4 could be opened up by a good run through
the chicane. Turn 8 was the key to the hairpin. Then add
in any sort of minor error on any one of the 14 turns and
the next was open for a passing attack.
So no mistakes for 78 laps, sometimes in ambient
temperatures of near 40°C or other times in rain. And
then the pressure. A good weekend can set up a cham-
pionship tilt or set you on the back foot a chasing in the
early rounds. You can be a hero or a zero, all in front of
the Supercars’ biggest crowds.
At the end of each weekend you are left wondering,
‘Who needs F1?’ Clearly Adelaide doesn’t.
ABOVE: The Adelaide 500
helped the South Australian
capital fill the void left by
the loss of the Australian
Grand Prix to Victoria.
“IT WAS LITERALLY PUSHING WEIGHTS
AND RUNNING IN A SAUNA FOR THREE
HOURS.” – PAUL RADISICH
z_V8X103 p52-56 Adelaide 500.indd 56
15/1/18 3:37 pm
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