Pre-season outings with Red Bull Ampol Racing have helped remove guesswork for Richie Stanaway ahead of his crucial co-driving duties.
Stanaway has been partnered with defending champion Shane van Gisbergen for the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 and Repco Bathurst 1000.
The two Kiwis will share van Gisbergen’s #97 Camaro for the two biggest races of the year, each worth 300 points.
It places Stanaway under pressure should van Gisbergen be in the title hunt — and two test days in the #97 Camaro have helped fast-track his progress.
Stanaway joined van Gisbergen at last week’s Sydney test before driving the Camaro at Queensland Raceway on Tuesday.
The former open-wheel ace clocked crucial dry running on Tuesday, having been thrown in the deep end as rain fell last week.
He has also found comfort in the car, which is vital for the longer races given van Gisbergen is 12cm taller.
“It’s been great to be part of the program so early on in the year,” Stanaway told Supercars.com.
“It’s so I’m not left guessing the closer we get to the co-driver season later in the year.
“It’s been great to get a feel for the car — now I’m going to watch the first few races of the season, not wondering what it’s like to drive the car.
“It’s nice to get the idea in my head about what direction the program’s going in, and get muscle memory early on.”
The new Gen3 cars feature an adjustable pedal set-uo, meaning Stanaway won’t have to fight discomfort in a car designed for van Gisbergen.
Of 2023 co-drivers, only Penrite Racing’s Garth Tander — who Stanaway has replaced — has had more Gen3 running in the pre-season.
In just two days of running, Stanaway has found comfort some six months out from Sandown, before he faces his best chance yet at winning the Great Race.
“It's different driving it here compared to SMP, we had very mixed weather conditions there,” the 31-year-old added.
“I didn’t get a lot of running in the dry, and I only ran on the Hard tyre.
“Luckily the pedal box slides in the new car, it’s not as much as an issue driving with Shane.
“I’ll need to make a seat insert, but otherwise, it’s quite comfortable.”
The Penrite Oil Sandown 500, which is scheduled for September 15-17, is just 199 days away.
The Repco Bathurst 1000 will be held on October 5-8.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 on March 10-12.
Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.