Drivers relearning Bathurst with reduced aero, new tyres

06 Oct
'It was interesting going across the top and over McPhillamy, just not having the aero to hold the cars down over the rises'
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Thursday's fastest time 1.5s slower than corresponding time in 2022

  • New cars have less downforce, but Soft tyre offers more grip

  • Two practice sessions to come on Friday before all-important qualifying

Balancing the low-downforce Gen3 cars with the grippier Dunlop Soft tyre is proving a relearning experience for drivers at Mount Panorama.

Drivers turned their first competitive laps at the Mountain on Thursday in two practice sessions to kick off this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000.

The quickest time of the day, David Russell’s 2:05.6826s in the Additional Driver session, was 1.5s slower than the time set by Garth Tander in the corresponding session last year.

The new cars are a handful across the top of the Mountain, but the gripper Soft tyre is somewhat balancing the books — although drivers are still trying to find the limits.

Fiore crashes out of Practice 2

“It was interesting going across the top and over McPhillamy," championship leader Brodie Kostecki said.

"Just not having the aero to hold the cars down over the rises. It was probably a bit bit different to what I thought it would be.

"I pre-empted a lot of it, and the team’s done an awesome job with the set-up of the car so far.”

David Reynolds, who is making his 16th Bathurst start, only had a handful of laps in the first session before handing over the #26 Penrite Ford to co-driver Tander.

“Normally we have three sessions on this track, I just feel a bit underdone, I haven’t done enough laps and got up to speed yet,” Reynolds said.

“Hopefully tonight my brain will relearn everything and I can come back swimming tomorrow.


“The car’s very different to drive, Soft tyre’s very different, it gives you different reads, different feel."

Tander had a number of scares across the top in Practice 2, notably bowling a wide across Skyline into the Dipper, en route to second.

Highlights: Practice 2 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000

“As Brodie said, just learning the aero effect across the top of the Mountain,” said Tander, who is making his 25th start.

“I actually think the cars have got more grip at the tree, and the Esses down through the Dipper, I think that’s the Soft tyre working.

“So just understanding the difference in the tyre compound, how that contributes to the lap time versus the lack of downforce.”

Shane van Gisbergen, who is making his 17th start, was only 15th in Practice 1 before Richie Stanaway put the #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro in third in the evening session.

“Just trying to learn the cars, less aero but obviously more tyre grip to try and make up for that,” van Gisbergen said.

“Just learning about it. We’ve got a bit of speed to find, but yeah, all three [Triple Eight] cars are there and thereabouts.

“We’ll find out tomorrow in the pre-qualy session and qualy where we really are.”

Supercars will hit the track for all-in Practice 3 at 10:00am AEDT on Friday morning, ahead of Practice 4 at 1:05pm and ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 4:15pm.

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