You don’t get two much more different tracks than Queensland Raceway and Mount Panorama, but nevertheless we must play the hand we are dealt. You all know what that means – a day sweating it out under the Ipswich sun, cutting lap after lap and making change after change in the eternal search for that elusive tenth of a second. And even when we do find it, we’re apparently still looking for it.
Anyway, we digress. That sun must be getting to us…
The annual pre-enduro test day, we are happy to report, went off without a hitch, all four drivers reporting positive steps forward in one area or another. Sure, a few red flags (don’t look at us) hindered running a bit and meant we missed ticking a couple of boxes, but overall it was a day to be happy with.
Saying that though, look at those beauties. What’s not to love?!
“I love the livery,” said Lowndesy. “It’s a nice tribute to Holden’s 50 years of factory involvement. The cars look good, hopefully it’s a good omen.”
Alright, down to business now. CL wasn’t there just to admire the new paint job. He cut the odd lap here and there (not many by his own admission), was on hand to practice driver changes and generally add his… “unique” brand of humour to the day.
At a test that was as much about understanding the aero changes as experimenting with Bathurst setups, Jamie did the majority of the running. Luckily, if there’s one person we trust around the mountain, it’s Lowndesy.
“The fundamentals are there, we’ve done all our preparation,” he said. “It’s been good testing with Jamie again. The ergonomics of the car fit both of us, which is great because it means that for pit stops it limits the potential for errors.
“The car has progressed well, the new aero development that they’ve had since the last round has improved the car. We’ll have to wait until we get to Bathurst to see what the true potential is but all in all I’m comfortable in the car and looking forward to it.”
It was a similar situation but in reverse for the #97 Commodore. SVG twiddled his thumbs while Garth well and truly acquainted himself with not only the car but the crew as well.
“I’m not sure if Shane’s actually even here anymore!” GT said just after lunch (that was a joke, we promise Shane didn’t smokebomb).
“From my point of view it’s been great, obviously spending a lot of time in the car and developing that engineer-driver relationship with Shippy (Grant McPherson, Race Engineer), which is critical when we go to the races.”
We know Garth is an old hand around the mountain, but in the absence of a pre-Bathurst endurance race, what’s been the most important thing for him to work on today?
“They key thing is developing that language, that relationship, because we don’t have Sandown as the warm-up race.
“We’ve worked really hard all year to integrate myself into the team because I’m the new guy and it feels like I’m speaking the same language, which has been really good. That’s the important thing going to Bathurst because we don’t have a weekend to develop that, so we need to hit the ground running there.”
Sure, these two old fellas are probably just happy to still be able to do a driver change without cracking a hip, but such positive reports definitely have us leaving the Paperclip with smiles on our faces. Or could that just be because we’re stoked to be heading to a track with more than six turns?