While the Formula 1 machines are seen as the high-profile drawcard attraction of the annual Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park, the Supercars have for many years filled the primary support role, and for this year it's fair to say the latter genuinely upstaged the high-tech, and meteorically fast open wheel machines.
For the first time ever the Supercars raced for championship points at the season opening Albert Park Formula 1 round and with four quick fire qualifying sessions supported by two, short non-pit stop races and two longer races necessitating a pit stop, as anticipated there was action aplenty.
ENZED's Cam Waters starred in the second Supercars qualifying session, posting the fourth fastest lap time; the best of the four-car Tickford Racing operation ... however, his biggest highlight came when he charged through the field in Saturday evening's twilight race claiming ninth place at the chequered flag, after starting the 25-lap encounter way down in 22nd spot as a result of having his fifth fastest qualifying time disallowed for exceeding track limits.
The Saturday evening Supercars race was an absolutely thrilling prime-time blockbuster, with fading light setting in as a result of a delayed Formula 1 qualifying session, which saw the home grown Aussie V8s starting their race well after the originally scheduled 6:20pm timeslot.
Undeterred, and under threatening skies, the 26-car field initially blasted off in dry conditions, with Cam making some early passes to move into the top 15. Then all hell broke loose as rain hit. Initially a shower, that did little to upset the running order, before a secondary heavy rain front moved in throwing the race into chaos. With darkness falling and the grip level deteriorating significantly, drivers and teams were faced with a decision to pit for wet tyres - thinking the rain would increase - or stay out on warm dry weather tyres in hope that the rain would not intensify.
Cam chose the latter strategy and went into the final six laps sliding around on a greasy and wet track, while also having to contend with increasingly dark conditions, describing his race as eventful, but incredibly rewarding.
"It was the wildest race I have ever been in. The rain made the track feel like an ice skating rink and it was just so dark, incredibly dark. The TV pictures didn't truly convey just how much our vision was impaired. I've never lifted my visor up in any previous Supercars race, but I had to in this one and the dashboard illumination was like somebody shining a torch directly into your eyes. Every lap I had no idea what the grip level would be and if not for my previous speedway experience I think I would have been off the road much earlier. It was very satisfying to improve from 22nd on the grid and to ultimately come home in night position ... even more so considering just how challenging the conditions were - it was just crazy out there.
"We had a mixed weekend and finished up in 10th place for the round, but that Saturday evening race will live in my memory for a very long time."
Cam's next on track Supercars appearance will take place at Tasmania's Symmons Plains Raceway over the weekend of April 6-8.