Nissan's Buncombe in Australia

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 29/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Standing starts, quick driver changes and no drivers aids - those are the key things to adjust to ahead of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, according to Nissan's international co-driver and V8 Supercars newcomer Alex Buncombe.

The Brit will pair with former Sandown and Bathurst winner Todd Kelly for the three key events this season, and is ready to cut laps in the Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima during a test day on Monday.

While Buncombe attended the sydney.com pre-season test in February, the 33-year old - who will return to Europe post-Sandown for the Blancpain Endurance Series - only completed a handful of laps, in patchy conditions.

He said the preparation for the Pirtek Enduro Cup seemed similar to what he has experienced in other categories - it will just be a matter of getting used to the nuances of V8 Supercars.

"It's fairly similar, to be honest with you ... just the main difference is the car," Buncombe told v8supercars.com.au.

"I've got to get used to no driver aids, not like what I've been used to in Europe with the traction control and ABS, all that sort of thing.

"But there are certain aspects of the racing to get used to. One is the standing start - we don't do that in Europe, so I'm going to have to get used to that.

"Obviously the pit stops seem really critical over here. In Europe it's much more relaxed, as the fueling and the tyres take a really long time, but over here it looks really fast. So I don't think the car is that easy to get in and out of, so I'm going to have to do plenty of pit stop practice!"

The opportunity to pair with Kelly - who has won at all three Pirtek Enduro Cup circuits, Sandown (2001 sprint race, 2003 '500'), Bathurst (2005) and the Gold Coast (2006) - means the Brit is in good hands.

"It's a great honour to be driving with Todd, he's such an experienced guy ... I'm sure I'll learn a lot from him. I can't wait to get my teeth into the car."

Arriving early today, it was straight to the workshop for a look around and catch-up with the team.

"I can't fight the jetlag much longer to be honest, because we landed this morning at 6am, so feeling a little tired at the moment!" he said this afternoon.

"But it's great to be here at the team, see the amazing facility Nissan Motorsport has got in Australia here, it's fascinating and has far exceeded my expectation.

"I've had a quick chat with the team and run through a few things for the test on Monday at Winton, so really looking forward to that."

Buncombe will remain in Australia after the test, with Sandown less than a fortnight away.

However, after the 500 he will be on a quick flight out the next morning, to head to one of the world's most famous circuits, before contesting Australia's best at Mount Panorama.

"I'm straight back to Europe - I have the final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series in the GT-3 Nismo GTR, so I'm straight to the Nurburgring in Germany on the Thursday."

Along with a number of V8 Supercars teams, Nissan Motorsport will use a test day early next week to get Buncombe and the other three co-drivers up to speed ahead of the September 12-14 Sandown classic.

Walkinshaw Racing, Ford Performance Racing and Brad Jones Racing will also be out on Monday, with WR continuing at Winton on Tuesday with back-to-back testing, to be joined by Garry Rogers Motorsport.

WR also has an international driver to fly in for the events, with Oliver Gavin testing the HHA Racing Commodore across the two days. Valvoline GRM's Alex Premat - who also contested races in the Blancpain Championship this year - returns back to his former V8 Supercar team for the Pirtek Enduro Cup from Europe.

Meanwhile, Triple Eight, TEKNO Autosports and Erebus Motorsport will test in Queensland on Tuesday.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter