Richie Stanaway is the sole co-driver out on-track for Prodrive at today’s test day and has impressed with his initial speed.
The team is focusing on extracting qualifying pace from its Ford Falcon FG Xs at its first in-season test day of the year, and chose not to invite its co-drivers for the hit-out with another pre-enduro test planned in the coming weeks.
But with Stanaway unavailable in early September, the 24-year old Kiwi is getting up to speed today, steering his first Supercars laps since the co-driver only session at Winton in May.
“It’s been a good day so far, I’ve had a fair few laps and am just about to jump back into the car, get into the groove and learn as much as possible for the enduros,” Stanaway told supercars.com.
“I’m in quite a unique situation having never raced a V8 Supercar before and heading straight into the main game, into the enduros, so a day like today is very important to try and minimise the learning curve as much as possible… and get used to working with the team.
“I’ve done some practice starts, pit stops, basic things like that, making sure the seat position is ok.”
While today is technically Stanaway’s enduro test, he will cut some laps in practice at Sydney Motorsport Park and at the following ride day at the circuit on Monday.
He’s enjoyed steering the Ice Break Falcon and looks forward to some more laps on better tyres this afternoon.
“I loved it this morning, I didn’t want to get out of the thing!” he said.
“I’m really enjoyed myself so far today, it’s a really nice car to drive. Obviously this is a very competitive team so whenever you’re in an environment when they can provide you with setups to be at the front, the car is always going to be enjoyable to drive, so it feels good.”
Stanaway can’t wait to fulfil his childhood dream of racing at Bathurst in a Supercar, and has been given special permission by his World Endurance Championship team to be in Australia for Sandown despite a date clash.
“Watching V8 Supercars as a kid is what inspired me in the first place, so that’s why it’s cool to be here, I’m really looking forward to it.”
All four cars are on track at Winton and it’s so far so good for the squad with no issues this morning and perfect conditions for testing.
Team manager Chris O’Toole was pleased with the team’s progress and impressed by Stanaway’s speed.
“Most of it is geometry related – we’re just trying to maximise the turn in the cars. That’s what we’re concentrating on,” O’Toole told supercars.com of PRA’s plans for the day.
“Richie Stanaway is here doing a few laps because he can’t come to the later test and he’s come up to speed really well, which is good.
“Yeah, he’s been really good straight out the box.”
The team will be back on Thursday to test its Dunlop Series cars with Jack Le Brocq and Garry Jacobson.
Nissan Motorsport is also out on track with all four cars and co-drivers present.