This weekend’s MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge at the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Grand Prix is giving teams a rare opportunity to further develop their racecars.
While the racing is as fierce as ever and there’s $500,000 in prize money on the line, teams aren’t competing for points in the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship Series. With testing limited to just four days a year, chances to try and assess development parts and different car set-ups are at a premium – but they have one this weekend.
“We’re certainly doing a lot of development work throughout the weekend,” Toll HRT driver Garth Tander said.
“Once the green light goes out we’re going as hard as we can, but there’s a lot of development going on as well.”
It sums up the sentiment up and down the V8 pitlane. The season kicked off in Adelaide a fortnight ago, and continues at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains in two weeks’ time.
“We’re trying some new front suspension, which seems pretty positive up until now,” Team BOC’s Jason Bright said of his development program.
“You obviously want to do well for your sponsors and everyone this weekend, but it’s a great chance to benchmark yourself and try a few things that would be a bit of a risk to try during the few practice sessions at a championship round.”
Bright’s weekend started on a downer, having been caught up in an incident between Steve Owen and Michael Patrizi exiting Turn 10 on Lap 2 of the qualifying race. That put him on the back foot and cost him a precious set of the softer Sprint Tyres for the remaining race, with three sets allocated for practice and the four races.
A five-time V8 Supercar race winner at Albert Park, Bright finished 24th in Race 2 but progressed to 13th in Saturday’s shortened Race 3.
“I was pretty happy with our pace in practice, but I made a little mistake in qualifying which cost us pretty dearly and put us back in the pack,” he said.
“We had the soft tyre on in the first race but we lost them because of the crash. It meant that we had to run hards for Friday afternoon’s race, to get back on par with everyone else for the rest of the weekend. The crash hurt us in more ways than just putting us out of the race.
“It hasn’t been the best weekend results-wise so far, but it has given us the opportunity to try some things we don’t normally get to try at a race meeting.”
Meanwhile, the grid for the fourth and final race of the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge will be missing two cars, following yesterday’s opening lap pile-up. The Commodores of Karl Reindler and Taz Douglas were deemed to be too damaged to repair overnight at the circuit and won’t start Race 4, which kicks off at 1:20pm.
Ford driver Mark Winterbottom will be aiming to complete a clean sweep, having won all three races so far.
By Mitchell Adam.