Frosty: Future focus

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 05/05/2016
  • By Mark Winterbottom

It’s an interesting time to see which way teams will lean when choosing drivers for next year.

Young guns are in demand – there are older guys off contract and the young guys are getting good results. Experienced drivers like myself, Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, Will Davison and James Courtney – we’re all still getting results and going well, but the young guys are security for the team because they’re the future.

It’s a big statement where a team like HRT is looking, and DJR Penske. Penske has got Fabian Coulthard, in his ninth year in the sport, and then Scott Pye, who is relatively young.

It’s interesting to see how everything’s unfolding in the silly season, but I think our team has covered it really well in terms of the balance of experience and youth.

You’ve got the guy who has been in the sport for 12 years and is still ok, and then you’ve got Chaz – experience versus youth and raw talent.

He’s come up to speed real quick and is really good for the team. Although he’s young, it feels like he’s already four or five years into the sport because of the way he goes about it, he’s a very mature racer for such a young age.

The next guy to come in, Cam, is young, quick, aggressive and fits that new role again – so from the team point of view we’ve really secured the future and have all areas covered.

We’re running two of the front-runners in the Dunlop Series, who are showcasing what they’re doing. Being part of that category means you can develop engineers as well, who become the future of the sport and are part of the evolution of the next generation of racers.

The development series has really proven to be worthwhile – winning the championship actually turns into something in the main series now.

Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, Nick Percat, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Pye – there’s been some really good guys step straight out of Dunlop Series and into the V8 Supercars Championship.

With Cam – who won the title last year – we chatted a fair bit when he was in the Dunlop Series.

But now, you don’t really help them that much, to be honest. They might ask you a bit of advice and you give it, of course. On the flipside, you actually ask them for advice too because they do things better than you do in other areas, so you bounce off each other a bit.

Cam and I work really close together and I think being around each other so often, without asking questions, naturally some of the things you do well rub off on him and vice versa.

Chaz is at another level. We work well together but when you start to become contenders against each other, some of the little ins and outs disappear. You’re still working together for the team, but he’s in a league no that he doesn’t need to ask questions he does his own thing for sure.

It’s one of those things – you help out, they get really competitive and although you want to beat them, it’s nice to see something you’ve helped with become one of their strengths. It’s frustrating, but rewarding as well!

Perth was very good last year for us and it’s probably one of my favourite rounds of the year because of how hard it is. With the soft tyre and degradation, the way you’ve got to be fast but very strategic is very enjoyable. You can beat someone using your head, which in our sport is quite rare.

You’ve got to know when to attack and when to conserve and Perth really escalates that way of driving.

I think it’s going to be really tough, there are a lot of good cars at the moment, but it will be a quick car versus a car that’s good on its tyres.

A guy could win from positions six to 10 if they have good tyre life – it’s probably the most open race of the year. But one that you finish the race and your head is pounding because it takes mental strength as well as physical – it’s very strategic.

Hopefully it’s good for us and we can have a quick car, which I think we’ve got.

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