Successful tests

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/02/2016
  • By Bruce Newton and Kassie Gadeke

Discomfort hasn’t stopped David Reynolds from bolting a set of green tyres on his Penrite Holden Commodore this afternoon and setting the fastest time of any southern V8 Supercars teams during Winton testing this week.

Erebus Motorsport team boss Barry Ryan reported that Reynolds, who shifts from Prodrive Racing Australia to Betty Klimenko’s team for 2016, was about 0.6 seconds faster than Monday fast-man Tim Slade in the Brad Jones Racing/Freightliner Commodore.

Slade’s best time was 1min21.2608 sec.

With Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport also testing today and reporting fast times (see below), it seems likely the recently resurfaced northern Victorian track was grippier than Monday.

“The track temperature was just as hot as Monday but I suppose the track might have been a little different,” Ryan told v8supercars.com.au. “We are not stupid, we know that unless everyone is here you don’t know where you are at.

“But we are pretty happy. We couldn’t ask for any more than how it worked out today. 

“We had a really productive day, it was really good. The whole team just worked really well together.”

Reynolds achieved the time despite finding the ergonomics of the ex-Walkinshaw Commodore less than optimum, something Ryan said the team would be able to address between now and the championship-opening Clipsal 500 next week. 

“Dave was the ultimate professional like we know he is,” said Ryan. “He knew what he wanted out of the car and there were a few things we couldn’t give him, but all that stuff we can fix before Adelaide.”

Meanwhile, Ryan said Reynolds’ rookie team-mate Aaren Russell in the Fitness Plus Commodore also posted good times, although he missed out on a ‘happy hour’ green tyre run after an off with about 90 minutes to go. 

“Aaren had a bit of a run-off at the sweeper, went through a ditch and damaged the front sweeper and under the car a little bit. It was nothing that’s a real problem, but it just ended his day a bit earlier than we would have liked. 

“But he did a solid job, based on Monday’s times he would have been midfield.”

Aaren Russell car Winton test

The Winton test was the first hit-out for the team that has not only traded in its Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG racers for Holdens, but also moved its headquarters from the Gold Coast to Melbourne, changed its driver lineup completely and overhauled its personnel line-up.

Campbell Little engineers Reynolds, while Walkinshaw’s Mat Nilsson will look after Russell as well as act as liaison between the two organisations. Joe Sasso, who left HRT as part of that squad’s summer downsizing, is now crew chief at Erebus. 

Klimenko and husband Daniel were in attendance for the entire day and watched the reconstructed team’s Commodores complete around 70 laps each.

“She was looking all over the car and at different bits and pieces,” said Ryan. “I think she started off a little sad because her old car and her old team weren’t here but by the end of the day she was happy.”

LDM reported its “best ever” test day, overcoming minor teething problems early this morning to set what team boss Barry Hay described as “very competitive” times in relation to Monday. He estimated each car completed around 60 laps.

LDM test Winton 2016

Nick Percat continues to be engineered by Chris Stuckey this season, while Hay acted as engineer to new recruit Andre Heimgartner. He believes the young Kiwi adjusted to the car very well.

“He  was quite at sea to start with – every team does things so differently, and that was the case here. He feels things differently … and it took the majority of the morning to get himself sorted and after that he was good,” Hay said.

“The two main game cars went out and had their standard hiccups for a first run and then we got serious about 10 o’clock – just bugs. We went from there and had a solid run right through.

“We had our soft tyre run this afternoon and the cars were really, really good – we couldn’t be happier.”

This time last year the team was expanding from one to two cars – now, the growth is from two to three, running Alex Rullo in the Dunlop Series along its V8 Supercars Championship program. 

Rullo was on-track and completed plenty of laps ahead of his Clipsal 500 debut. The young driver is running what the team calls the ‘Russell car’ – Russell Ingall’s last V8 Supercar from his year at LDM, now owned by sponsor Phil Munday.

Alex Rullo test day LDM Dunlop Series

Percat and Heimgartner continue with the chassis raced last year, though Heimgartner’s was refurbished over the off-season by Garry Rogers Motorsport after former driver Tim Blanchard’s Bathurst crash. The plan is for Percat to receive a new chassis mid-year.

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