Engineer Preview: Castrol Townsville 500 - Driven by TAFE Queensland
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By V8 Supercars
David Reynolds and race engineer Nathaniel Osborne broke through for victory in The Bottle-O Falcon at last year's Gold Coast event, and the two are keen for more runs on the board as the V8 Supercars head to North Queensland this weekend.
"I'm not rapt about being the only car in the top 10 without a win -I'd like to stop people referencing this fun fact if I can," car 55's Osborne told v8supercars.com.au, previewing the Castrol Townsville 500 -Driven by TAFE Queensland.
However, as long as the team can get on top of qualifying on the Dunlop hard tyre, Osborne believes that with Reynolds' strong form at street circuits, they will be on for a podium.
The driver has at times expressed that he is the unluckiest in pit lane - and Osborne admitted he also felt that frustration.
"Frustration and Dave are one and the same," he joked.
"Not true -unfortunately motorsport is full of frustration and everyone has their fair share of bad luck. It just seems to happen to Dave whenever we are in a position to bag a reasonable result.
"He's got a good attitude in regards to this and doesn't dwell on it so we move on pretty quickly. I think he gets over it quicker than I do."
Osborne talked v8supercars.com.au through the challenges of the hybrid Townsville street circuit and the SuperStreet format at the Castrol Townsville 500 -Driven by TAFE Queensland.
V8supercars.com.au: What are the main characteristics of the circuit? Osborne: "The Townsville street circuit throws up a mix of challenges for both the drivers and the engineers as each sector has its own hurdles to overcome.
"Sector one features the heaviest braking zone of the circuit at turn two, where we have to try and wipe off just under 200km/h as quickly as we can.
"The focus in the second sector are the two fast-paced turns five and six that are made that little bit more difficult with the addition of heavy kerb strikes at the apex. The easier we can make the car eat up the kerb strikes the quicker we can get the power down and get out of there.
"The last sector is brutal on the left rear tyre and is by far the trickiest for the drivers to put together correctly every lap."
How will the weekend's format affect setup and strategy?
"Strategy for Saturday will see everyone come in for one stop any time after completing five laps with rear tyres only being the most likely option as tyres for this round are not in abundance.
"Due to the inclusion of the soft Dunlop tyre at the past two events at Perth and Darwin, strategy has played a major part in the result on the Sunday. Only having the hard tyre available at Townsville takes the tyre variable out of the game and strategy options become limited. The Sunday race has the compulsory 140L of fuel to add which will be added over two stops."
What is the tyre allocation and what sort of degradation are you expecting? How will this impact setup and strategy, particularly in the longer Sunday race?
"Only the hard compound tyre has been made available for us at Townsville, which somewhat removes the challenge of tyre degradation.
"The only challenge for Sunday will be whether or not to try and save a set of green tyres for the shootout.
"As only five sets are available for use post practice there's a good chance that everyone in the (ARMOR ALL Top 10) Shootout will have to do their time on a used tyre as you may have to use all the available greens to get into the top 10. If confident you could try and save a set but run the risk of being bumped out of the top 10."
What aspects of the circuit are you expecting to suit your car and what do you have to be mindful of?
"The big stops have been a strength for car 55 so far this season, so if this trend continues the first few turns should suit our car.
"We struggled with the last sector in 2013 so I think we'll have to focus on this early on in the weekend so we don't have a repeat of this."
What are you expecting to be the most important thing to do well this weekend?
"This round will all be about qualifying more so on the Saturday than the Sunday. There hasn't been a race won on a Friday or Saturday further back than the second row of the grid all year.
"As the hard tyre mostly looks after itself these days, focus needs to be on producing a car that can qualify on the first two rows to give you any chance."
Time with team:
Time in V8 Supercars:
Gold Coast win in 2013
Best result at Townsville:
"Eleventh in race one last year and ran second in race two before an electrical problem finished our day. We had done all of three laps..."