Kiwi Supercars driver Fabian Coulthard has a small advantage over some of his rivals this weekend – he has a tiny bit of experience driving under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Supercars championship will run its first night race on Australian soil in over 20 years on Saturday night with 300 valuable points up for grabs in the 300km long single driver race.

Coulthard was involved in some very limited testing on part of the Sydney Motorsport Park facility as the series evaluated light before a decision was made to include the race on the 2018 calendar.

"I was fortunate enough to do a few laps and test out some of the track last year in progress for this event," Coulthard told Radio Sport.


"It is going to be pretty cool.

"I haven't seen what they've come up with for all the lights around the whole facility but I think it is going to be a great spectacle and provide some great actions for the fans and give them something different to look at – bring back the flames and glowing rotors."

While Coulthard did get an introduction to the concept only a couple of corners were used so he will be learning on the run like the rest of the field this weekend.

Many drivers view this race as the biggest wildcard in the championship with the same number of championship points up for grabs as the Bathurst 1000. No-one knows how much lighting there will be and how it will impact racing while temperatures will be much different to anything seen in Australia before, making any data already in use irrelevant.

"We did a night race in Abu Dhabi a few years back and that was very similar to Singapore [Formula 1 Grand Prix] and it was like we were racing in the daylight," Coulthard explained. "I think this one is going to be a little bit more old school – the facility isn't like Abu Dhabi or anything like that.

"It is going to be an old school set up with lights pointed at the track to light up corners and I think that brings the real raw spec of night racing to life.

"We will have to contend with a few shadows – that doesn't sound like much but it will play a little bit of havoc with your eyes focusing and adjusting to the different conditions."

Coulthard sits sixth in the standings after a disappointing start to his campaign but has been a lot more consistent of late.

He was rewarded with a contract extension and will remain with the Shell V-Power Racing operation alongside championship leader Scott McLaughlin for at least another season.

The team has a self-imposed rule of not discussing terms of the deal, including length, but Coulthard was happy to stay where he is.

"I am with a fantastic organization so for me to continue that on is a no-brainer for me. It is a fantastic operation, it is well run and we have very competitive cars so I am looking forward to the future and doing everything we do with the team and represent the brands as best we can."

Drivers to beat: Still Scott McLaughlin v Shane van Gisbergen and given their top spots in the championship standings that will be where the focus is.
Dark horse: All of them will be dark this weekend!
Keep an eye on: Garry Rogers Motorsport and Brad Jones Racing have always found ways to make strategies work and it would not surprise to see them punch above their weight with this unique format.
Pressure on: Mark Winterbottom – he's off-contract and under pressure to retain his Tickford Racing seat.