Testing on new turf

With the endurance season just around the corner, it was time we rounded up all four drivers and hit the track for our annual pre-enduro test day. That’s easier said than done when one of your co-drivers is trying to take over the world, but we managed to track down Paul “The CEO” Dumbrell in between his desk and DVS duties.

It was our usual, run-of-the-mill test day. Well, apart from the minor detail of the track. Given the recent safety issues at Queensland Raceway, us Sunshine State teams were given the option of holding our remaining test days at Morgan Park Raceway.

With the opportunity to run our cars around a circuit that has more similarities to Sandown than QR does, we packed up the truck on Monday afternoon and headed to Warwick for a camp out, ready for an early start on Tuesday morning.

With a full schedule of setups, changes and pit stop practices to get through, it was full steam ahead for both cars. Almost. While the No.1 Holden got off to a smooth start with JDub behind the wheel for the morning, a couple of “niggles” brought Steve “Richo” Richards into the pits during his first stint for an engine change.

“We had to change the engine,” said Lowndesy, trademark smile intact despite the setback. “Obviously the boys felt that we needed to do that and afterwards we continued on our programme. Up until then the car was running fine.”

Thankfully the RBRA boys are a well trained lot and they had the #888 Commodore running around the 2.9km track again in the time it takes our F1 counterparts to do a normal pit stop. Ok, not quite. But who’s counting?

Meanwhile, Jamie spent some time taking advantage of the Morgan Park kerbs in preparation for the 500km classic at Sandown next week.

“We got some good stuff out of the day,” he said. “PD was a bit uncomfortable at the start of the day and we worked on a few driver change issues, which we cleaned up. We also ran through some setup things, which hopefully will help us at Sandown, but that’s it.

“All in all we had a good day. It’s always good to drive the cars on a new track, so we got that experience today. It’s a small circuit, but it was fun to drive around. Testing here consistently is another question – you don’t get top gear – but all in all I enjoyed driving around it.”

If there’s one pair’s day you can’t darken, it’s that of Lowndesy and Richo. Once the brand spanking new Chassis 39 was back on track, the smiling assassin duo made great headway.

“It’s been a good day actually, except we had a few little mishaps at the start, but we overcame those and we made a number of changes and the car’s actually working really well,” said Craig.

“All in all I think our pit stops have been good. We did our driver changes and they went smoothly, so we’re really happy with how the rest of the day has gone.”

Join us for the Sandown 500, September 12-14, for the first of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup marathons.