Triple Eight to run young driver test

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 19/07/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Three youngsters from the Dunlop Super2 Series will test with Supercars heavyweight squad Triple Eight Race Engineering this Friday.

Will Brown, Nathan Morcom and Kurt Kostecki are set to share a single Holden Commodore at Queensland Raceway for the driver evaluation day.

All three campaign Triple Eight chassis in Super2, with first-year Supercars drivers Brown and Morcom at Eggleston Motorsport and Kostecki with his own family team.

Brown, 19, is the reigning Australia Formula 4 and Toyota 86 Series winner, while Morcom, 25, took out the Australian Endurance Championship in 2016 aboard a McLaren.

Kostecki, another 19-year-old, is a full-time mechanic at Triple Eight and ran two Virgin Australia Supercars Championship events as a substitute with Team 18 last year.

In order to minimise disruption to its main program, Triple Eight will run the test using its spare chassis, which is ordinarily fielded by Eggleston for Paul Dumbrell in Super2.

From left: Brown, Morcom and Kostecki From left: Brown, Morcom and Kostecki

Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton told Supercars.com that the purpose of the day is to get a clearer read on how each of the three drivers is progressing.

“It’s one of those things where you always want to be at least one if not two steps ahead of the game so you know the quality of the young guys coming through,” he said.

“We’re quite fortunate that drivers in Supercars don’t miss rounds very often, but if a co-driver gets sick or something like that, you’ve got to have some reserves ready.

“If circumstances change and something has to happen in a hurry you want to be making decisions on a position of strength.

“Watching them drive their own cars is one thing, but when you put them in one of yours and you’re engineering it you get a better appreciation for their level and potential.”

The team will also be using the day to give Jamie Whincup’s data engineer, Romy Mayer, experience in charge of a car.

Formerly part of Mercedes’ DTM and GT3 programs, the German moved to Triple Eight in 2015 and works side-by-side with race engineer David Cauchi on Whincup’s entry.

“We’re making sure we’re using the opportunity to not only learn about the drivers but help our engineers too,” continued Dutton.

“Myself and Cauchi will be there as well, so it’s not like we’re just throwing her in the deep end, but you want to make the most of every day at the track.”

While Whincup will be on hand to complete the permitted 10 laps for a primary driver, Dutton dismissed any suggestion that the day will help the team prepare for the upcoming Ipswich race meeting.

“Ten laps for a main driver, albeit Jamie, is next to nothing and no disrespect to the other guys, but we’re not going to be tuning the car for the weekend based around them,” he said.

“We’ll go through the set-up changes to get their read on them and their feedback, but it’s 100 percent not about preparing for the race meeting.

“If anything you’ve got to be realistic about that stuff and make sure you don’t try and take a direction from a day like this and end up in the wrong direction.”

Triple Eight will share the track with Super2 squad Matt Stone Racing, which is preparing for Todd Hazelwood’s Ipswich wildcard aboard its 2016 Craig Lowndes Commodore.

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