Yes (fist pump)! We’ve done it. More than four years after the idea of creating some magical car that would unite car manufacturers the world over was born, the Car of the Future dream finally came to fruition. And how…
In arguably the biggest day in both V8 Supercars history, a whopping four manufacturers – Holden, Ford, Nissan and Mercedes – took to Sydney Motorsport Park to signal the beginning of a new era for Australian motorsport.
But not everything’s changed because like last year and the year before that, it was Holden at the top of the timesheet. Would you expect anything less?
Red Bull Racing Australia kicked off its inaugural V8 Supercars campaign with both cars inside the top 10, reigning champ Jamie Whincup and cult figure Craig Lowndes always ominous in just their second drives of the all-new VF Commodores.
In fact, Holden dominated the session from Ford and new rivals Erebus Motorsport and Nissan, three-time series champion Crackers setting a time of 1.29.36 on soft compound tyres to end the day third behind the two Commodores of Jason Bright (first) and Fabian Coulthard. The No.1 car of J-Dub finished the day with a solid time of 1.30.48 – the second quickest on hard tyres and placing the 30-year-old seventh. Meanwhile, the best the Fords could manage was an eighth, courtesy of Mark Winterbottom, with Rick Kelly’s Nissan in fifth and the Mercedes out of the top-10 altogether.
At this early stage, if the Germans are any chance of claiming pole position in Adelaide they’ll have to be up early to reserve it with a beach towel. Jokes. Having Erebus on the grid was a welcome addition and by the looks of all outfits, come Clipsal all manufacturers will be well in the mix. The test was further evidence that 2013 will be a V8 battle of epic proportions.
Overall, the Red Bull Racing Australia Commodores made an impressive debut at the Eastern Creek circuit, both engineers and drivers pleased with the progress ahead of the season start in Adelaide in two weeks’ time.
“It’s so far so good – we’re just playing with all the major things and then we’ll start fine tuning when we get to Adelaide,” J-Dub said.
“Compared to other new cars we’ve had, it feels really good. It’s exciting.”
Craig said the No.888 car performed better than he’d expected given the new panels only arrived at the workshop a little over a week ago.
“Our knowledge of this car is pretty limited, so we want to have a good feel for what the changes we’re making do,” he said.
“Everything that we’ve done has made sense, and the car’s responded the way we hoped it would. Now we’ve got to find out what it likes and what we need out of it. The aerodynamics feel great, the gear box is nice, so it’s all very encouraging.”
So, with strong lap times in the bag and smiles all round, the Red Bull Racing Australia crew will head to the Clipsal 500 in a fortnight for the start of the most highly anticipated season in V8 Supercars history. Bring it on.