Charlotte Poynting comes into the seventh and final leg of the Aussie Racing Cars in 23rd place, but says points will be the last thing on her mind when she gets out onto the grid among the excitement of Newcastle’s annual Supercars festival.
Instead, she’s aiming to enjoy herself as she tears around the inner-city grid of her home region, and test out the new-look track modifications made ahead of the 2019 iteration of the huge regional Supercars event.
And, with the weather predicting a drop of rain to open over Newy across the weekend, she’s praying for a little water-madness.
Two years ago, the Warners Bay star had the honour of opening the Newcastle 500 in a historic first lap around the temporary track that weaves past Newcastle and Nobbys Beach, along Newcastle’s Foreshore, and up Watt St.
Last year, the youngster piled into the SuperUtes to charge around the Newcastle track. This year, she’s looking forward to seeing the changes that have been made, and said she’s hoping to see the skies open with rain.
“Newcastle is a fantastic track, I think the change at the hairpin is going to really make it a lot more interesting, there’s going to be so much more passing,” she said, before adding that she had her fingers crossed for clouds.
“I think this track will be really fun in the wet, I love racing in the rain and I’ve always been pretty good in the rain so it will be really good.”
Poynting comes into her hometown event off the back of a mixed run on the Gold Coast, where struggles in qualifying left her fighting in the pack during the Aussie Racing Cars battle, before she was hit by Adam Clarke.
Overall, the Novocastrian speedster collected 193 for her efforts up north, after placing 19th, 10th, 8th, and 15th in four starts. The racer pointed to her 1:26.9348 qualifying time, and some “bad luck,” as the reason behind her slower finish.
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“In Race 1 I was taken out in the opening laps of the race, so that just put us on the back foot for the whole weekend,” she said, and added that she was “super proud” of her team’s efforts across the last six races regardless.
“A lot of work has gone into the car this year, we started off with not the fastest car at the start of the year, and we’ve put so much work into it, the teams done so much, and we’ve really got some good speed into it now.”
Regardless, the 20-year-old said she’s looking forward to her third Newcastle event on the grid, and admitted she’s been “gearing up” for the “huge weekend” since she noticed it on the calendar months ago.
“Although we had some bad luck I still had a fun weekend on the Gold Coast,” she said.
“We managed to get from 24th to 11th in race 4… and had some great speed in the car, just wish the luck would come our way. Up next, Newcastle. Gearing up for a huge weekend at the Newcastle 500.”
Poynting takes to the track for qualifying tomorrow amidst the opening day of the race, before Race 1 kicks off the final competitive battles of the Aussie Racing Car season.
Meanwhile, in the title card event, Scott McLaughlin will be doing a lap of honour around Newcastle’s streets after successfully defending his No.1 ranking.
The season’s battles are far from over, however, as Red Bull Holden duo Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen look to make a last-gasp bid for the team title. The team sits just 116 points behind Shell V-Power, who lead the standings.
The Newcastle 500 begins with practice for all competitors on Friday, followed by qualifying and main-stage racing on Saturday and Sunday.