Fresh off a win at the Winton 360, the Holden Racing Team is all set for V8 Supercars’ version of the AFL and NRL finals, the PIRTEK Endurance Cup, after a productive pre-enduro test at Winton today.
The three-race endurance title chase kicks off with next week’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Australia’s great race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama follows four weeks later, with the ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600 street race in late October.
HRT’s regular drivers, V8 Supercars champions Garth Tander and James Courtney were joined by their enduro co-drivers, Nick Percat and Greg Murphy at the 3km rural Victorian circuit.
The four completed over 600km in the team’s two HRT Commodores in preparation for the traditional warm-up to Bathurst.
“Today has given us the chance to run through further development programs, which are important for the enduros,” three-time Bathurst winner Tander said.
"The enduros are V8's finals, they're the races everyone follows, especially Bathurst, and we're keen to give it a big shot again.
“We’ve run through various setups, but most importantly, we’ve been able to give Nick plenty of miles in our new VF Commodore and we’ve done a lot of pit-stop practice to make sure our driver and brake-pad changes are up to speed.
“It’s been a productive day for the team.”
Bathurst rookie winner, Percat said he had little trouble reacquainting himself with Holden’s latest factory racer despite not having raced a supercar since December.
“I haven’t driven a V8 in full anger since Homebush, so I’ve had to reprogram myself from the Porsche, but it didn’t take long to feel at home again,” Percat said.
“HRT has been right at the pointy end recently, and when the team’s going so well it gives the co-drivers like Murph and myself confidence.
“We know the cars are right so that makes it easier for us to do our job.”
V8’s most recent race winner, Courtney said today’s test verified the continual improvement in speed of his HRT Commodore.
“We’ve had a good string of podiums and a couple of wins, so today has been about making sure we can carry that momentum into the enduros,” Courtney said.
"HRT has two great cars and two strong driver combinations for the biggest races of the year – there’s a real buzz around the team.
“We’ve developed the car a lot throughout the season and today’s been an important opportunity for Murph to get behind the wheel and understand how to make the most of the improvements."
Four-time Bathurst winner, Murphy said recently developments to the HRT Commodore were noticeable.
“Each time I’ve driven the car it’s improved, so today we’ve been able to focus completely on our enduro package,” Murphy said.
“It’s awesome having a new trophy for the two-driver races, but Bathurst is still the grand final of V8 Supercars – it’s the one everyone wants to win.”