Test day calms nerves

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/09/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Harvey Norman Supergirls Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie feel less daunted by the challenge of Bathurst after steering their Ford Falcon FG X for the first time today at Winton.

While De Silvestro has been lucky enough to jump in the cockpit of different V8 Supercars last week, neither were the same generation or model as the car the Swiss racer will drive at Mount Panorama.

Both she, 26, and Gracie, 20, sampled the Prodrive-prepared Falcon today at Winton - with another test day to come tomorrow - and feel more prepared for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 after the experience.

"Going to Bathurst I think is going to be really interesting, now I'm happy that I get two days of testing here in Winton and when I get there I'll only have to learn the track," De Silvestro said.

"I'm really comfortable with the car - but for sure it's going to be a huge challenge and I'm really just looking forward to it.

"I think the whole experience of driving at Bathurst and doing the Bathurst 1000 is going to be cool, I'll be taking it all in."

While Gracie has steered a Porsche at the Mountain in previous years, it will be her first time in a V8 Supercar. The weekend is a double whammy, with Gracie piloting the FG X and her Dunlop Series FG in a 250km race on Saturday.

"It's a lot easier than I thought," Gracie said after sampling the FG X today at Winton.

"Compared to my Development Series car ... the car gives you a lot of confidence.

"It's almost enticing, it feels better the harder you're pushing it.

"So it's good and I'm happy with the car, I'm glad it feels the way it does, glad it's not a bigger challenge than my Development Series car.

"It gives me a lot more confidence driving ... and Simona likes it better than my other car as well, which is good."

The young driver said she was relieved now she has an understanding of the car.

"It's not as scary as I thought it was going to be," Gracie said.

"I didn't know what to expect really, so sitting on the grid at the Bathurst 1000 now that I've been in the car and I've seen Simona driving the car, looking at data - [I'm] feeling a little more confident now."

For De Silvestro, who has only raced open wheelers, the feel of the V8 Supercar is very different.

"The V8 Supercar compared to an IndyCar is way different, it moves around so much more," she said.

"It's really powerful though and everything is really different because already the view, you see a little bit less and stuff, so all things to get used to.

"But so far so good, we're getting there but for sure there's going to be big steps moving forward."

The Supergirls will test again tomorrow, using both test days available for a wild card entry. Five sets of new hard tyres have been allocated for the two days, which will also be used in practice at Bathurst.

Cameron Waters - Dunlop Series front-runner and co-driver for reigning Bathurst winner Chaz Mostert - shook down the FG X at Winton this morning for the girls and said both went well out on-track today. Prodrive team boss Tim Edwards also checked in with the crew.

The team changed the brake master cylinder as the girls searched for a harder feel, and Gracie also had the opportunity to jump into Waters' Dunlop Series car for a spin.

The chassis the girls take to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is the first new generation Supercar Prodrive built - the same car Mostert ran in Kuala Lumpur last month, and that Super Black Racing entered successfully as a Bathurst wild card last year.

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