Edwards: Tests could turn Supercars season

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 29/05/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

There will be no points awarded, but the extended break between Winton and Hidden Valley could play a crucial role in deciding the 2017 Supercars champion.

The majority of the teams will use the three-week gap between races to test as they each look to take a step forward following five events learning the new tyre.

Shell V-Power Racing has set the pace in the opening stages of the season, with Winton winners the Red Bull Holden Racing Team in hot pursuit.

Prodrive is a clear third in the pecking order, while Garry Rogers Motorsport fights the likes of Erebus, Tekno, Brad Jones Racing and Nissan for best of the rest honours.

While acknowledging that the Shell and Red Bull teams will be tough to beat, Prodrive boss Tim Edwards says his team’s fortunes in 2015 are a reminder that things can change quickly.

Prodrive dominated the early stages of that season with its new FG Xs, only for Triple Eight to come roaring back, winning the teams’ title and narrowly missing out on the drivers’.

Tim Edwards Tim Edwards

“Everyone is excited about going testing,” Edwards told Supercars.com.

“We get allocated three each year, but one gets used before the season starts and the other is an enduro test before Sandown, so really you only get one proper test to play with.

“We’ve built up a test list of parts and ideas to go through and are relishing the opportunity to get on track and try some of those things, as I’m sure everyone else is as well.

“Given the new tyre, I’m a little surprised how dominant some cars have been in the early part of the season.

“I actually expected it to be a bit more like the beginning of last year with 10 different winners in 12 races.

“From my perspective the Triple Eight, Penske and our cars are currently the lead group.

“Clearly we’re P3 of the lead group at the moment and it seems that some other teams are struggling a lot with the tyre.

“But it wouldn’t at all surprise me if it all clicks for someone and the order gets mixed up.

“At this time in 2015 everyone was saying we were going to walk in the rest of the year.

“There were complaints about our aero, dampers, everything, but in the back end of the year we were well and truly run down with those exact cars.”

Winterbottom was almost run down after a flying start in 2015 Winterbottom held on after a flying start in 2015

Last year also saw a dramatic in-season momentum swing, with a breakthrough post-Winton test for Shane van Gisbergen and Red Bull seeing the Kiwi take control.

Van Gisbergen scored just three podiums from 11 races prior to the test before going on to find the rostrum 15 times in the 18 races after it.

Although Red Bull is currently developing its 2018 Commodore, team manager Mark Dutton insists there’s still plenty of work going into improving its current cars.

Prodrive’s lead driver Chaz Mostert currently sits fifth in the standings, but dropped from 31 to 199 points adrift of the lead at Winton.

Mostert had been running second on Saturday when he suffered a gearbox failure, much to the frustration of the team.

He then qualified just 17th on Sunday – his first time off the first three rows all season – before going on to finish eighth.

Team-mates Mark Winterbottom, Cameron Waters and Jason Bright are seventh, 10th and 21st respectively.

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