Adelaide 500 Preview: Street Fighting Men

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Adelaide 500 Preview: Street Fighting Men

Welcome to Adelaide and the opening round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

It's a street circuit like nothing else around the world and is fondly remembered as the home of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix until 1995.

But this isn't your father's circuit.

While Mount Panorama's can lay claim to being the biggest and most iconic track in the land, the drivers commonly point to Adelaide as being the hardest.

There's a good reason for that.

It's Turn 8.

The aftermath of a Turn 8 crash

For most of the year it's a typical inner-city intersection where drivers criss-cross the parklands heading in and out of the Adelaide CBD, or skirting past it.

For one weekend in March though it's arguably the most dangerous corner in Aussie motorsport and the F1 boys missed out on all the fun.

You see, this circuit is a modified version of the old Grand Prix circuit, meaning Turn 8 was transformed from a kink into a full-blown high speed turn around 1999.

It's not uncommon for drivers to have their hearts in their stomachs on this high speed bend, while others quietly admit to needing some clean underwear after exiting.

With a narrow-entry, sixth gear entry fee and zero run-off, it's not for the faint hearted and has seen its fair share of thrills and spills over the years including rollovers and all-nighters for the panel beaters.

Jason Bright says a prayer in 2014

But fresh bitumen in and out of the turn should give engineers some more grip to play with when tweaking their setups.

As for the rest of the circuit, the 3.22 kilometre street fang has become known as a serious test of man versus machine versus the elements.

Concrete walls and tyre barriers line the circuit, leaving little room for mistakes as temps behind the wheel soar to 50 degrees during racing.

Speaking of which, there are two, 250 kilometre races which include compulsory pit stops with a minimum 140-litre fuel drop.

Safety cars (if they happen), will play havoc with race strategies.

The Clipsal, err... Adelaide 500 winds its way around the city parklands

Jamie Whincup returns to the Adelaide with the #1 on his window after coming from behind to win title number 7 in Newcastle at last year's season finale.

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team ace will be hoping his ZB Commodore will be straight up to speed with Shell V-Power Racing's Scott McLaughlin's pace expected to set the bar again this season.

Whincup's team mate Shane van Gisbergen was strong here last year, all but dominating the weekend to take home the trophy.

"The Giz" won the chocolates in 2017

Our mates at have crunched the numbers with some key stats to remember ahead of this weekend's action:

Qualifying record: Shane van Gisbergen, 1:19.2951s
Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore VF, 2017, super-soft tyre

Race lap record: Scott McLaughlin, 1:20.4210s
Shell V-Power Racing Falcon FG X, 2017, super-soft tyre

Smallest race-winning margin: 0.5420 seconds
Garth Tander to Jamie Whincup, 2011 Saturday

Biggest race-winning margin: 20.5203 seconds
Craig Lowndes to Will Davison, 2013 Saturday

Most Adelaide 500 wins
4 - Jamie Whincup
2 - Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose, Garth Tander, James Courtney, Shane van Gisbergen
1 - Craig Lowndes, Jason Bright, Rick Kelly, Will Davison, Nick Percat