Car swaps key in Triple Eight test

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 06/06/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus, pics: Matthew Paul

Switching drivers between its three cars was a key part of a productive test at Queensland Raceway that Triple Eight hopes will help it overhaul rivals Shell V-Power Racing.

Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes drove each of the three Holdens throughout the day, repeatedly swapping seats as they assessed set-up changes.

Although a spell in a team-mate’s car at a test day is nothing new, team manager Mark Dutton admits that it was a real focus as part of today’s structured running.

“We were trying quite different set-ups and approaches across the three cars, so it was important to get three opinions,” Dutton told Supercars.com.

“It strengthens the team for every driver to have felt each of the different ways you go and know what it did.

“It’s not just three opinions on one change either, we did it multiple times throughout the day.

“Essentially it’s all time. Almost anything you change on the car takes more time than changing the driver.

“Sometimes you’re so caught up with your own test plan on each car that it’s hard to factor it in, but today we certainly focussed on it more than previously.”

Van Gisbergen's co-driver Matt Campbell also turned laps during the day, although the German-based youngster stuck to the #97 entry in his first run with the team.

The team will debrief its test tomorrow ahead of a quick turnaround before the next event at Hidden Valley.

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Pleased to have run through the extensive program without a hitch, Dutton says the test will set up the team’s campaign for the rest of the season.

It will use its third and final test day of the year in the lead-up to the Sandown 500, where the focus will be on endurance preparation.

“We didn’t downplay the importance of this test at all,” said Dutton, whose team is narrowly behind Shell V-Power Racing in the current standings.

“There was a lot of effort being put in by engineers, mechanics, machinists, everyone was working hard to prepare for the day and it went off faultlessly.

“They’re tough days to get spot-on because you’re doing so many changes and there’s so much potential for things to go wrong. It all went to plan so we couldn’t be happier.

“Because you get so few of these days, what we were doing today wasn’t just for the next race, it sets you up for the rest of the year.

“Rechecking and relearning some things about this tyre, we were basically equipping our tool box for the rest of the season.

“It won’t all translate to Darwin, but I’m confident with how well the day ran that we can put on a good show there.”

Shell V-Power and Tekno also tested alongside Triple Eight at Queensland Raceway, while Garry Rogers Motorsport and Prodrive ran their full complement of cars at Winton.

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