David Reynolds will commence 2017 in the first Holden Commodore Supercar to be built from the ground-up by Erebus Motorsport.
The car is currently in the early stages of the build process, with the roll-cage being assembled at Jimmy’s Fab Shop in Castlemaine, while ancillary parts are prepped at the team’s new Dandenong workshop.
After parking its Mercedes-Benz E63s at the end of 2015, Betty Klimenko’s team campaigned Walkinshaw Racing Commodores in 2016.
Reynolds’ new team-mate Dale Wood will take over Reynolds’s current Commodore VF, in which he finished the season on a high with third place in the final race of the season at Sydney Olympic Park.
Team boss Barry Ryan told supercars.com that the new car would be “tidied up”.
It will incorporate input from new team chief engineer Alistair McVean, who joined Erebus from Walkinshaw Racing last October.
Some parts tested at Winton just prior to the Coates Hire Sydney 500 will also be incorporated in the build.
“There are bit and pieces we tested … that we can make a decision on, whether they will be the stable thing we use all the time or whether we go back to what we used previously,” Ryan said.
“We will probably still use a Walkinshaw cross-member because the engine fits on it and there’s nothing wrong with it.
“We are not going to re-invent the wheel unless we think it is going to help.”
One area of the new car that will get attention is the wiring system.
“There are ways in the wiring we can make it nicer,” Ryan confirmed. “We have got a guy, I have worked with before, and him and Alastair can work together and package the wiring.
“So it will be a lot nicer than it currently is. That’s an old car though, I am sure Walkinshaw’s current car is a lot nicer than that.”
Ryan confirmed Wood’s car would be equivalently specced to Reynolds’ car so data would be translatable between them.
While Erebus had negotiations with other drivers, including up and comer Jack Le Brocq, Ryan said Wood’s three years in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Brad Jones Racing and Nissan Motorsport was a key part of the small team’s decision to go with the 2013 Dunlop Series champion.
“As much as it is good to say ‘yep it is good to help the young guys’ maybe that is better for a three or four car team, not a two-car team,” said Ryan.
“Being the definite third or fourth driver makes a difference. So now he is going to be a genuine team-mate to Dave Reynolds. There is no-one in between and they will have the same spec car.
“So he can get in and go right I’ve seen what this car can do last year and Dave will have the new car and depending on how the year goes we will decide if we build another new car.”
Ryan said he expected Wood would need acclimatisation time in his third team and car in four years in the VASC, but the driver was being more bullish.
“He doesn’t want to [have an acclimatisation time],” said Ryan. “We think he is going to have to learn, but he is wanting to bounce straight out of the gate and be strong.
“We want him to be strong and Dave wants him to be strong. Dave needs that support.”
With the recent confirmation that Penrite will again back Reynolds’ Commodore in 2017 and with Wood bringing a group of backers with him, Erebus is in a strong funding position heading into the new year.
But Ryan stressed there were more important reasons for bringing Wood onboard than his budgetary support.
“I suppose that helped a bit, but it wasn’t the biggest part of the decision.
“I have known Dale since we worked together in 2010 [at Kelly Racing] and I know how much he brings to the team and not just because he is a fun guy to be around.
“He knows when to switch on and off and he is a very smart guy.”