The more miles, the better – that’s why Prodrive Racing Australia tested its young guns at Winton yesterday.
With the focus on next week’s Castrol EDGE Townsville 400, Cameron Waters joined Dunlop Series drivers Jack Le Brocq and Garry Jacobson on track for a rookie day to help learn more about his Ford Falcon FG X.
Team manager Chris O’Toole said it was important for all three drivers – who are new in their cars this season and driving NewGen racers – to understand the tuning tools they have available to them.
Waters has stepped into a new generation car after success in an older Supercar in the Dunlop Series last year, while Le Brocq came from MW Motorsport and Jacobson from Eggleston Motorsport.
“The main focus [was] to get the drivers to understand the cars – what does what,” O’Toole told supercars.com of yesterday’s testing.
“All three drivers are new to these cars and don’t get any miles apart from race time. As you know, practice sessions are short and sweet. So [we made] a raft of different changes so they could get to understand what does what and better get their heads around what they need out of the car at a race meeting.
“It’s about building that information base and knowledge base so he and his engineers can figure out what they need to fix a particular problem.”
While Waters had the chance to steer the car of the future at a handful of rounds last year, first as Chaz Mostert’s co-driver and then his replacement, he has expressed how challenging it could be to ‘speak the language’ with his engineer Brendan Hogan and know which particularly changes to ask for.
Waters completed 330km yesterday and O’Toole acknowledged the challenge of his switch to the main game.
“When you come off a dominating year in Dunlop Series – he’s come off a year when he’s first and second in every session just about … then you’re not top 10, it sometimes does start to become a challenge.
“And it’s a completely different car – his other car was really – in every sense of the world – a simpler car because it wasn’t a car of the future.
“It’s harder to drive, it’s harder to tune and the larger amount of tuning and … we had six years of knowledge on those things so we know what to do with everything. It was quite simple whereas this is a fair bit different.”
The 21-year old Monster driver had a tough run at the last event in Darwin finishing 24th and 22nd in the two races, but O’Toole believes the rookie day will boost his confidence.
“It’s almost like a reset … get some more seat time and put that one behind us,” he said.
“This test is the stepping stone for Townsville, it’s like giving him another few practice sessions.”
Waters sits 18th in the championship after six rounds this season and won at the Townsville round last year as a Dunlop Series driver.
Le Brocq and Jacobson are equal on points in the Dunlop Series, at the top of the table.
PRA was joined by Macauley Jones of Brad Jones Racing and Matt Chahda on-track yesterday.