Perth 400: Marques plan to break drought
The Barbagallo racetrack is a favourite among drivers.

It's been 27 years since Nissan last tasted victory at Wanneroo and the team is sweating on James Moffat improving on his impressive run in Perth when the Japanese marque returned to the sport in 2013.

Back in 1986 and 1987 George Fury and Glenn Seton, driving the mighty Skylines, won the Australian Touring Car Championship rounds at the track. Fury has long since retired, while Seton has concentrated on Speedway in recent times.

Moffatt, the 29-year-old son of Canadian/Aussie great Allan, finished in the top 10 in all three races last year and knows he has 24 others waiting to give him a nice little tickle around the 2.42km Barbagallo Raceway in the Perth 400.

And, after one of the worst New Zealand weekends they've had in a long time, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes from Red Bull Racing are hell-bent on turning around their recent results with a strong showing back in WA.

Team chief Roland Dane was quick to point out a lot of people had "amazingly short memories".

"It was just a few weekends ago that we completely dominated everyone in Tasmania," Dane said. "Winton and New Zealand weren't flash for us, so we've got to come out in Perth firing on all cylinders and do a better job.

"Clearly, being able to tell everyone at Triple Eight Race Engineering we've got a (new) multi-year deal with Holden will lift spirits even further. We're looking forward to Perth and getting the job done on track."

The 400 reacquaints drivers with the popular SuperSprint format, with two 100km races on Saturday and one 200km stint on Sunday.

The V8 Supercars take to the track Friday with three 20-minute practice sessions - at 10.30am, 12.10pm and 1.55pm - in a fine feast for fans throughout the weekend.

Championship leader Mark Winterbottom has handled his Ford Pepsi Max Crew FG Falcon superbly this season and has a 107-point bolster over Lowndsey's VF Commodore. Lockwood Racing's Fabian Coulthard, one of three Kiwis in the field, is just 10 points shy in third.

Fellow countryman Scott McLaughlin has shown remarkable skills so far with Valvoline Racing GRM and has the Volvo S60 sitting pretty in seventh.

The boys from Erebus Motorsport, Will Davison and Lee Holdsworth, have positioned their Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs handily in 10th and 11th and will pull out all the stops to bring home the goodies for boss Betty Klimenko.

Local superhero Garth Tander, the lanky lad from Perth's southern suburbs, is languishing way down the line in 14th but, as the sole West Aussie in the series in 2014, he has his legion of diehard supporters along for the ride. His HRT teammate James Courtney sits fourth.

Barbagallo Raceway is by no means an easy track. It sure is a spooky ride through the Esses, to the crest of the hill when all the driver sees is skyline at 200km/h, then down into the basin where so many races have been lost.

As HHA Racing's Nick Percat tells us elsewhere today in WestWheels, it's a beast on tyres. The Dunlop booties get a serious workout at Wanneroo.

Red Bull Racing Australia is leading the Teams Championship, ahead of Ford Pepsi Max, Team BOC and Lockwood Racing. How points are distributed in 2014 mightn't be quite as complex as the Tassie and SA electoral systems but it still takes some figuring out.

Some drivers reckon that's why there are team bosses.

The V8 method was amended recently because awarding points only to 15th prevented too many guys from notching valuable points. While the emphasis is still on rewarding the winner, points now go down to last.

Different scales are assigned to rounds having one, two, three or four races, ensuring a maximum 300 for winning all races at any one event. There are a few conditions, naturally, but all we need to know for this weekend is that the Perth 400 is classified as a triple-header.

The winner receives 100 points for each race, eight points over second place, decreasing by six points each per place to sixth, then by four points to 11th and two points per place thereafter down to the 25th and last place here.

Not difficult at all!

The West Australian

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