Erebus Motorsport’s Adelaide speed was the result of sticking to known set-ups rather than making changes to suit the new ZB aero, says manager Barry Ryan.
The small Melbourne-based squad was arguably the weekend’s most-impressive performer, all-but matching the factory Red Bull Holden Racing Team on Sunday.
Erebus driver David Reynolds finished second behind Red Bull’s Shane van Gisbergen, having appeared faster for most of the final stint after letting the lead slip.
The performance followed a strong end to the 2017 season for Erebus with the VF Commodore that included a podium in the Newcastle season finale.
While the factory team could be expected to have a jump over the other Holden squads in understanding the ZB it developed, Ryan says there’s less difference between models than there appears.
“Newcastle is a similar style of track with similar bump characteristics, so we figured that a set-up there should work for Adelaide,” he said.
“We just ignored that it was a different model car. We just ran the car like we normally would, mechanically, with the suspension.
“And then with the aero if there was something strange we’d just think of what it might be, but we didn’t really touch it.
“It’s less different to a VF then you’d think, essentially.”
Reynolds also noted that the car “honestly felt quite a lot like last year”, with the VF to ZB change not as pronounced as what he experienced from FG to FG X Falcon while at Tickford.
Building up for title bid
Ryan also defended Reynolds’ inability to hold out van Gisbergen during the critical first lap of Sunday’s final stint, which appeared to cost Erebus the race win.
Reynolds later spoke of a lack of belief in his ability at the Adelaide circuit as a factor in his timid approach, which Ryan says should now be behind him.
“I understand because it’s Shane van Gisbergen and there’s every chance he’s going to do something that you wouldn’t expect,” said Ryan of the critical moment.
“If he blocked his line, Shane might have punted him or something. For the first round of the year, we didn’t want to get taken out. It was very sensible.
“You can’t run the race in reverse. Dave is kicking himself now thinking he was fast enough, but who knows.
“Off the back of this result, hopefully we’ve ticked Dave’s confidence box early instead of having to build up to it, which has traditionally been the case.
“Last year it wasn’t until Phillip Island that we started to find some real speed.
“He’s got the confidence now that we can roll into any track and get a good result, that will make a huge difference.
“There are no tracks we are scared of now, which makes a huge difference, whereas last year there were a few where we were like ‘what’s going to happen here?’.
“Adelaide was one of them, because we were pretty average last year.”