New approach for Holdsworth

  • 15/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Lee Holdsworth and his Erebus Motorsport engineering crew will change strategy at the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 after a disappointing outing on home soil at Queensland Raceway led to a post-event rethink.

And if they get it right they believe they can run in the top 10 all weekend, achieving a level of consistency that has evaded them all year.

"I feel three top 10s is the aim," Holdsworth told v8supercars.com.au. "We haven't done it this year yet... I am going there with the expectation of running in the top 10 consistently."

Holdsworth, who broke through for the team's first win at Winton in April, qualified only 23-21-20 and finished 17-18-23 at the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 as he and engineer Brad Wischusen tried to make setups devised during a pre-event test day at Queensland Raceway work for the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

By the end of the event they had reverted to a familiar setup, with Holdsworth setting a new lap record and running consistently fast in the Race 25 mini-marathon.

But he finished way down after a pit lane penalty for spinning wheels during his first pit stop.

"It all clicked in that Sunday race and it was back to a car we knew very well," Holdsworth told v8supercars.com.au. "So after the round we all sat down and had a good chat about what we need to do from here on.

"We agreed we needed to have more confidence in the package we have got and sticking with the setup window we start the weekend with, rather than throwing everything at it. We all agreed that's not the way to gain consistency.

"It was a group conversation," Holdsworth added. "These things don't get worked out by yourself. It's a matter of analysing the data and all the information that came about on the weekend, and coming up with a plan."

Frustrating inconsistency has become a familiar story for Holdsworth and Wischusen since Winton.

Holdsworth admitted that victory came sooner than the second-year team expected and served to raise expectations to a level that they have since been unable to meet.

"Before that (win) a top 10 was a good result, a top five was an awesome result and a top three was out of the question," Holdsworth said. "So when we got the win it was out of this world.

"After that we were aiming for podiums, and when your expectations are high and you don't achieve those goals then your disappointment is much greater.

"But I do believe we have a car that can be very quick if we get it right, so you just have to stay positive and keep pushing as hard as we can. You can't just keep doing the same thing if it's not working, so that's why we are changing."

Essentially, the plan is to have more confidence in the base setup of the E63 racer and making only incremental setup changes from that. More dramatic changes can produce dramatic changes that can cost a heap of positions when the 25-car grid is separated by tenths of a second.

"I think we have to lock in a few things with setup and wait more for the track to come to us rather than go chasing it early in the weekend," Holdsworth explained.

"I believe we have a car that's a top five contender week in week out. It's just a matter of nailing the setup and being confident in what we have got so that we don't go chasing it too much."

Holdsworth said a key ingredient to success would be recognising when a setup mistake was being made and not repeating the error.

"I think there are very few teams that are doing that at the moment, that have that consistency, so if we can get on top of it quicker than anyone else then we will be competitive with Triple Eight (Red Bull Racing), because they are probably the only other team that are so consistent at the moment."

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