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Surfers circuit eye-opener: Dixon, Helio crashes
New Zealand IndyCar star Scott Dixon says tearing around Surfers Paradise in a V8 Supercar was a true eye-opener.

Dixon and the other 17 international stars competing as co-drivers in this weekend's Gold Coast 600 event got to grips with the 2.96km street circuit for the first time on Friday.

And the results were humbling for some of the most decorated drivers in the world as wheel lockups, missed chicanes and some heavy hits abounded.

Brazilian three-time Indy500 winner Helio Castroneves provided the day's most spectacular incident, spearing front-on into a wall in the day's second 40-minute practice session.

His IndyCar colleague Alex Tagliani and former Formula One driver Mika Salo also came to grief during the third practice hit-out.

"I think it's eye-opening man," Dixon, who drives for the Target Chip Ganassi team in the United States, told AAP.

"It's a lot different to what we're typically used to, the cars are very tricky to drive.

"Obviously these guys are very good at what they do so it's very cool to come down and run with them on a normal weekend, especially when it's a championship weekend."

Dixon, a two-time IndyCar champion, is racing at Surfers with Todd Kelly and despite the steep learning curve, he's loving the experience.

"I've really enjoyed it, obviously with a great team and knowing Todd and Rick from years ago when I raced in Australia has definitely made it easier," he said.

"It just feels like I'm at home here."

There is however one thing he'd like to change, the way the V8 Supercar teams circulate used tires for practice sessions, something that's a world away from what he's used to in IndyCar.

"The cars are very difficult here because your margin of error is so small," he said.

"The hardest thing here, which I don't really know why, is the tire situation.

"Starting a day and you've got to run on tires that have got 200 kilometers on them already is just baffling and when you look at it, it's only $250 a tire.

"Definitely the tire thing in this series, from what we're used to, is crazy. I'm like, 'well I'll pay $1000 if I can get some new tires' because if you don't have good tires you're going to look like an idiot anyway.

"That's the only thing that's been a bit strange, but, no, I've had fun." sbs.com.au

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