The drivers and cars in the support categories for the Formula 1® Heineken® Australian Grand Prix 2022 take to the Albert Park track on Thursday with the first Practice and Qualifying sessions, and the opening races of what promises to be an action-packed four-day event.
The Supercars stars will take to the 5.28km circuit at 11:05 am for their first Practice session of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 and again at 12:30 pm, followed at 3:00 pm by two Qualifying sessions to set the grid for the first two of four races over the weekend.
Championship leader and 2021 Titleist Shane van Gisbergen have been in red-hot form, but the Holden driver looks to be facing a strong challenge from the drivers of the Ford Mustangs, which have traditionally shown great speed at the sweeping Albert Park track.
Many eyes will be on the opening Practice session for the Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup at 11:45 am, followed by a Qualifying session at 2:20 pm. This year the bar has been raised with the introduction of Porsche’s latest Type 992 GT3 Cup racer and a record 31 entries will make this season the biggest in Carrera Cup’s two-decade history.
Some in the pitlane are suggesting that with the upgrades to the Albert Park track, the lap times of the Porsches could be every bit as fast as those of the Supercars.
Australia’s fastest open-wheelers, the S5000s, will take to the track for their first Practice at 10:30 am, a second session at 1:55 pm and a Qualifying session at 16:40pm. Sixteen of the 560-horsepower, V8-powered racers are entered, the drivers vying for the coveted Alan Jones Trophy.
The other ‘race’ of interest is the MSS Security Ultimate Speed Comparison, which pits a Holden Commodore Supercar, an Australian Rally Championship Toyota Yaris and a Porsche Taycan Turbo S electric road car against each other, and against the clock.
The three cars will practice at 1:55 pm before their opening one-lap sprint of the weekend, at 4:10 pm – and there will be a further three showdowns over each of the next three days.
Off the track, there is almost as much to see and do. The Tech Talks start off at 10:20 am with the Australian Defence Force and if Lego is your thing, no less than the company’s CEO Ryan McNaught will be delivering his Tech Talks at 11:35 am and 1:00 pm.
The Tech Talks shift gear with the BAE Systems Challenge at 1:35 pm and 2:10 pm. The Challenge encourages students in grades 4 to 10 to use their science,
technology, engineering (STEM) disciplines in F1 racing to design a racing powerboat.
If you have ever wondered how the cameras that bring live TV images from the cars work, you will not want to miss the Tech Talk at 2:10 for a fascinating insight into broadcast technology.
And if music is your groove, high-powered Melbourne DJ YO! Mafia will take to the stage at 3:10 pm, and hip hop sensation Big Twisty & The Funknasty will bring things to a close at 6:15 pm.
In the skies above the track, look for the famed RAAF Roulettes to put on a great show when they appear at 12:10 pm.