Slade sets early pace at Sydney Motorsport Park

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 21/02/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Tim Slade and Brad Jones Racing have set the early benchmark for 2017 by topping the opening session of the all-in Sydney Motorsport Park tyre test.

Slade managed 68 laps of the track during the opening three and a half hours of running, recording the fastest time of 1:29.0924 while on the new super soft tyre.

Craig Lowndes, David Reynolds, Will Davison, Fabian Coulthard, Jamie Whincup, Rick Kelly, Chaz Mostert, Scott McLaughlin and James Moffat rounded out the top 10 at the break.

Teams ran a mixture of 2016 tyres as well as sampling Dunlop’s new construction 2017 rubber, of which they have four soft and four super soft sets.

The majority of teams are expected to run the super soft later in the afternoon after working through their programs with the old rubber and the new soft.

Lowndes went early on the super softs and was fastest throughout the majority of the morning with a 1:29.4178 until Slade bumped his time.

On track

“We learnt a lot from that run (on the super softs) which is something that we set out to do,” Lowndes told Supercars.com.

“We haven’t maximised the speed of it, but we’ve got a better understanding of what it needs.

“Structurally it’s a stronger tyre and it doesn’t move around as much as the previous one.

“There’s a few changes we’ll need to make to the car to compliment that and maximise the tyre.

“It’s something we’ll all have to get our heads around yet, which I’m excited about.

“We won’t run another one (super soft) today though. We’ve got limited tyres so we’ll keep our other sets for (use in practice at) Clipsal.”

Prodrive ran a mix of ‘16 and ‘17 tyres but is saving its super softs for a ‘happy hour’ at the end of the day.

Chaz Mostert

“All four cars have had different programs, working through a variety of changes,” team principal Tim Edwards told Supercars.com.

“We’re trying to understand some changes we’ve made to the cars and the tyres as well.

“There’s a whole host of things we’re evaluating at the moment, which is the same as everyone else.

“Later in the day happy hour will commence and people will put the 2017 super softs on, but I suspect that won’t be until the last hour.”

Garry Rogers Motorsport’s new Holden Commodores hit the track for the first time, with drivers Garth Tander and James Moffat spending the early part of the morning shaking down the cars.

“We worked through a bit of a shakedown this morning with a couple of runs on the 2016 tyre," GRM's Stefan Millard told Supercars.com.

“It was very smooth. We have to thank (engine partner) Walkinshaw Racing, they’ve been a great help to us and we couldn’t have done this without them.”

On track

The team then elected to use Dunlop’s 2017 soft tyre as they continue to chase setup after a switch of manufacturer.

“We’ve been working through setup changes and put the 2017 tyre on,” Millard added.

“The guys have been pretty happy with it and are still trying to find a bit of a balance and learn how it effects the setup of the car and how the guys will get the most out of it.”

Series newcomer Simona De Silvestro completed 47 laps in her Harvey Norman Nissan after a previous rookie test day at Winton two weeks ago.

Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport’s Alex Rullo was behind the wheel of car #62 while as previously reported, Matt Chahda and Aaren Russell are sharing car #3.

Co-drivers Warren Luff (Mobil HSV Racing), Jack Perkins (Mobil HSV Racing), Tony D’Alberto (DJR Team Penske), Karl Reindler (Team 18), Jack Le Brocq (Nissan Motorsport) and James Golding (GRM) are present at the track and all expected to drive throughout the day.

Former GRM co-driver David Wall is also present in the Nissan Motorsport garage, with the team still to confirm two co-driver spots.

On track

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