Supercars drivers balk at pitlane closure

Ford's Scott McLaughlin is wary of any changes to the pitlane rules during Supercars races.
Ford's Scott McLaughlin is wary of any changes to the pitlane rules during Supercars races.

Leading Supercars drivers including Scott McLaughlin have balked at moves to close pitlane during the safety car period despite chaotic scenes in the season opener in Adelaide.

Supercars will trial closing the pits during a safety car at next month's Phillip Island Supersprint round in a bid to ease congestion and avoid a repeat of the Adelaide 500 debacle.

The trial was proposed at last December's Supercars Commission and confirmed this week.

However, series leader McLaughlin of Ford and Holden star Shane van Gisbergen weren't so sure about the move becoming permanent despite Adelaide's "pretty wild" incident.

In Sunday's final 250km race, the pitlane exit was blocked after Nissan veteran Rick Kelly ploughed into Ford star Chaz Mostert as most teams scrambled in pitlane during the sole safety car period.

McLaughlin's concern was that a pitlane closure would cause more headaches as teams try to work out new race strategies for fuel and tyre stops.

"It (Adelaide incident) was pretty wild. We always talk about it (pitlane closure) but it makes it quite complicated for everyone," McLaughlin, who swept the season opener's two races, said.

Supercars have opted to trial the closure at Phillip Island due to the track's narrow pitlane.

Race categories IndyCar and NASCAR in the United States currently use the pitlane closure rule for safety cars.

Van Gisbergen wasn't convinced Supercars should follow NASCAR's lead.

"You could close it like they do in NASCAR but it changes the dynamic of the racing," he said.

"Every pit stop will be as early as possible so you don't get caught by the pitlane being closed.

"There's probably things we can do make it safer with wider pitlanes but the racing we got with pitlane being open was good (in Adelaide)."

Mostert's Tickford Racing Ford team boss Tim Edwards backed van Gisbergen.

"Yes, it (pitlane) is dangerous and yes there's always incidents but for some of the people that watch our sport it's also entertaining, it adds to the spectacle," he told Supercars.com.

"You've got to remember we are in show business so you've got to be a bit careful sanitising it too much."

Australian Associated Press