V8 Supercars: Title face-off at Gold Coast 600

Jamie Whincup drives the #1 Team Vodafone Holden during the Bathurst 1000 on October 7. Photo / Getty Images
Jamie Whincup drives the #1 Team Vodafone Holden during the Bathurst 1000 on October 7. Photo / Getty Images

The verdict's in and the V8 Supercars championship contenders are expecting title-deciding action in this weekend's Gold Coast 600.

TeamVodafone pair Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, as well as Ford Performance Racing rival Mark Winterbottom, all believe the unforgiving nature of the 2.96km concrete-lined Surfers Paradise street circuit is the ideal place to claim a decisive edge in the championship race - or drop out of contention.

Holden ace Lowndes, who trails championship leader Whincup by 161 points going into this weekend's races, knows all about how a title can be lost on the Gold Coast.

The 38-year-old was leading last year going into the race but had a horror weekend and relinquished the lead to eventual champion Whincup.

"I don't if it's going to make this championship but you can definitely break it this weekend,'' Lowndes said.

"If you have a bad race, either Saturday or Sunday, you're going to lose 150 points in potential and, of course, then you start getting further away.

"I've spent all year basically catching up from my mistake in Tasmania earlier in the year and it's taken me all year to get back to where I am now. So a bad run here either the Saturday or Sunday could definitely break the championship.''

Whincup comes into his hometown race full of confidence after his Bathurst 1000 victory a fortnight ago and with his international co-driver from last year, Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, once again joining him in the No.1 Commodore.

He said despite his healthy points lead and the potential risk of a costly crash, there's no way he and Bourdais will be playing it conservative this weekend.

"It's definitely one of the rounds that influence the championship,'' Whincup told AAP.

"Having a clean run is 10 times harder than actually winning here.

"We're not ones to go and circulate and pick up points. We'll be on the attack - that's our style. That's the only thing we know how to do.''

Another driver vowing to go hard is Winterbottom, who admits his title challenge is hanging by a thread after a disastrous Bathurst left him 188 points behind Whincup with just four rounds remaining in the year.

The Ford Performance Racing pilot said his only option is to try to win races.

"We need to be aggressive, go on the attack and try and win races. That's the only way we can win this championship,'' said Winterbottom, a two-time race winner at Surfers.

"Out of the last four, there's two danger rounds and that's Homebush and the Gold Coast ... once you come out of this race, you then know if you're further away or closer and then you can really strategise to the end of the year.

"We're going to be strong at Gold Coast, Winton and Homebush for sure - they're our good tracks. Abu Dhabi's format, all those things, are unknown so we don't know how to go and attack that one.

"We've got good rounds coming home but Gold Coast and Homebush are two danger rounds for sure.''

The Gold Coast 600 begins on Friday with practice before a 300km race each on Saturday and Sunday.

- AAP

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