Thunderhead Carlin Racing will waste no time in kicking off the 2020 racing action as the team head to Australia to take part in the second round of the 2019/2020 Asian Le Mans Series this weekend. Racing for the first time at The Bend circuit outside Adelaide, the team will experience another new challenge as the Asian Le Mans Series becomes the first series to use the full track layout at Australia’s newest circuit. The team’s drivers, Jack Manchester, Harry Tincknell and Ben Barnicoat will be aiming to build on the progress that saw the trio claim an on-the-road victory last time out in Shanghai.
For round two of the four round Asian Le Mans Series, the team have swapped the long straights of Shanghai International Circuit for the newly built The Bend Motorsport Park. The longest track by far on the calendar, the Thunderhead trio will need to get to grips with 7.7km of circuit and unsurprisingly a multitude of varied corners which undulate over 85 metres throughout. Adding to the challenge will be the intense cockpit temperatures as Australia endures its hottest summer on record. While the team prepare for this weekend’s event, the thoughts of everyone at Thunderhead Carlin Racing are of course with all the victims and emergency services affected by the terrible fires of recent weeks.
Manchester and Barnicoat have enjoyed some downtime in Australia as they acclimatise to both the 10.5 hour time difference to the UK and also the soaring temperatures. Team-mate Tincknell will enjoy no such acclimatisation however, as he flies around the world having topped the timing sheets at the Roar before the Rolex 24 test in Daytona this weekend before re-joining the Thunderhead Carlin Racing squad in Australia.
The trio are aiming to build on the pace that saw them claim victory at the last round in Shanghai, only to be demoted to third place following a penalty for a driver time infringement.
Manchester said, “I’m really excited to race at The Bend for the very first time. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the track from other series who’ve raced here and we can’t wait to get on track ourselves later this week. Based on our pace in Shanghai we know we have a lot of potential; we can certainly be proud of our form in China and know that we’re not only aiming to replicate that but make further progress here in Adelaide. We’re very grateful to be able to start our racing season in this incredible country.”
“I’m really looking forward to racing in Australia for the first time this weekend,” added team-mate Tincknell on his arrival to Australia. “The country is going through a tough time at the moment, but we’ll do our best to bring some entertainment to the locals around Tailem Bend. The circuit looks very exciting and unique. We’ve practiced a lot in the simulator so I can’t wait to take on the challenge in real life and continue our strong form that took us to a podium in the opening round of the championship.”
Barnicoat added “I’m really looking forward to the first race weekend of 2020 with Thunderhead Carlin Racing in round 2 of Asian Le Mans Series. The Bend Motorsport Park looks like it’s going to be a big challenge for all three of us with a very long lap and high temperatures but we have prepared incredibly well, so I’m confident we can pick up where we left off in Shanghai with a Podium this weekend.”
The team will get their first taste of the circuit during Free Practice on Friday.