Alex Davison could feel the potential in his #19 Commodore throughout his first official day with Team Sydney last week at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400.
The 40-year-old was a surprise addition to the grid, in an eye-catching Local Legends livery, after being announced as a full-season replacement for James Courtney.
Before departing post-Adelaide, Courtney had spoken of the potential he’d spotted in the Triple Eight package and Davison came to a similar conclusion after his first steer.
“Clearly the hardware is good,” Davison told Supercars.com.
“Jono [Webb, team owner] has done a good job there getting the right gear from Triple Eight with an engineering agreement so we get some support from those guys throughout the events.
“When you’re a little team, particularly one that is more or less a brand new team starting from scratch, that enables you to get to a point where you’re not miles off the pace straight out of the gate.
“You can feel that they are beautifully engineered cars and it’s a very good base, a very good starting point, that’s for sure. So certainly you can feel the potential.
“The problem is there’s so many teams running the same equipment – there’s no substandard equipment out there these days.
“That’s the level of competitiveness these days in Supercars, even with those things in place, it requires a lot of work to work your way up the field.”
Aside from Scott Pye, who suffered an early mechanical problem at Albert Park, Davison was the biggest improver from Practice 1 to ARMOR ALL Qualifying later the same day.
He set a 2:00.6075 in Practice 1; going almost four seconds faster in qualifying, recording a 1:56.8 for 20th place in both sessions.
The event’s cancellation denied him the chance to experience the car in race trim… but it wasn’t a bad start for a driver who hadn’t sampled a racing car since November and had no confirmed plans for the immediate future.
“Keeping everything in perspective, the level of competitiveness straight out of the gate, I wouldn’t expect it to be worse but I was reasonably happy with that,” Davison said.
“Clearly ultimately we’ve got goals which are further up the grid than where we were, but remembering I hadn’t driven any racing car since November and I hadn’t seen that car until late the previous afternoon, it was a good start.
“I was competitive with Chris [Pither], my teammate, and the whole field was closely packed so the next car was only a tenth up the road or whatever, so all of those things were reasonably positive.”
The irony of Davison’s deal with Team Sydney is it puts him in the very seat his younger brother Will held when in 2016-17 when the #19 Holden was run under the Tekno Autosports banner.
Will is now at 23Red Racing as part of the Tickford organisation and has enjoyed a strong start to 2020.
“It’s great to see how competitive Will and his team have been in the first part of the year,” he said.
“We’re at different stages of the progression there, that’s for sure, but it’s cool being on the track with him and at the same events as him again.
“My Dad [Richard] certainly enjoys it, he’s got another horse in the race now!”
Across various full-time stints, Davison has recorded three solo Supercars podiums – Darwin 2009, Abu Dhabi 2011 and Phillip Island 2013 – plus a 2010 pole in Darwin.
Other achievements on his resume include the 2004 Australian Carrera Cup title.