Five things we learned from Queensland test

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

Official track action for 2021 commenced last week with pre-season testing at Queensland Raceway.

Hot, blustery conditions ensured teams couldn't execute some programmes completely to plan, but that didn't stop some cars laying down some serious mileage.

The quickest lap of the day went to Matt Stone Racing youngster Zane Goddard, whose morning flyer stood the test of the day.

However, Red Bull Ampol Racing proved the mileage kings, with both cars combining for nearly 300 laps of the Ipswich circuit.

Victorian teams will take to Winton Motor Raceway on Friday, with 16 cars to hit the rural circuit for the second round of official pre-season testing.

Ahead of Friday's Winton test, here are five things learned from last week's running at Queensland Raceway.

1) Triple Eight wants better reliability

Red Bull Ampol Racing missed out on the title last season, with both cars scuppered by inconsistency at times in 2020.

However, the team ended 2020 strongly with victory at Bathurst for Shane van Gisbergen, who admitted at the test that the team used Friday to iron out issues that punctuated the team's title bid last year.

Triple Eight hasn't won a title since 2018, with 2017 the last drivers' championship for the team.

"We had a lot of test items, but the main thing was reliability," van Gisbergen said.

"We had a couple of issues last year. So, just logging a lot of laps, Garth [Tander] had a few race runs too.

"It was good. Car was faultless all day, and we had the most laps by a fair bit."

2) MSR ready for next step

Matt Stone Racing has the two youngest drivers on the 2021 grid in its stable.

However, both Goddard and Jake Kostecki learned a great deal from their SuperLite programme last season, and it showed last week.

The team completed a faultless test, with Goddard firing in the quickest lap of the day.

Both cars combined for 135 laps on the day, with the #34 and #35 entries completing a combined 421km of running.

3) Goddard confident for full campaign

Goddard clinched the team's best result in 2020 with a top 10 at Sydney Motorsport Park, and heads into his maiden full-time campaign with greater confidence after a strong test day.

With both drivers aged 21 heading to Bathurst, time is on their side to find their feet.

But despite lighting up the timing screens early on, a measured Goddard refused to read too deeply into the day's results.

"Really happy with it. Obviously on a test day it's sort of hard to see what everyone else is doing," he said.

"Nevertheless, if [other drivers] aren't on good tyres, they're still pretty close.

"I'm happy with it, it's a good start to the year.

"It's a never a bad thing to see your name at the top.”

4) Team Sydney well-placed for new challenge

Fabian Coulthard's maiden Team Sydney day was spent ironing out issues with his car, with Garry Jacobson keen to learn off his decorated teammate.

Last season was always going to be a challenge for Team Sydney, but a top five in Darwin proved the team can get its cars up the pointy end.

For Coulthard, the test day was a learning experience, but he expects the only way to be up for the Tekno-led organisation.

"So far, so good. It's obviously very new," the Kiwi said.

"We're still in our infant stages together, but we're doing our best job as we can.

"I'm looking forward to working and growing with the team.

"It's been a day of just ironing out a few issues.

"I'd much rather it happen here than at Bathurst in a couple of weeks' time."

5) DJR not in a rush

Between 2017 and 2020, Shell V-Power Racing dominated the category.

The team has "realistic" expectations for its brand-new driver line-up, but the team's rivals will be keeping an eye on how the cars roll out on the mountain.

Will Davison was pleased tap into his new Mustang's potential, while De Pasquale was second on the day, both cars completing over 90 laps.

"Very good," De Pasquale replied when asked about his day's running.

"Just worked through a programme, did everything we needed to do, learnt about the car, myself, the team, Ludo, all the stuff we wanted to do before we head to Bathurst.

"Everything made sense. We had a pretty successful day.

"The weather turned a bit weird, times dropped off heaps when the track dropped off.

"But overall, pretty successful."

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Repco Supercars Championship Newsletter