Explained: Supercars pre-season testing

04 Feb
Tomorrow, cars hit the track in anger for the first time in 2024. Here's what you need to know
5 mins by James Pavey

Teams are beginning to unveil their brand-new liveries for the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship, but pre-season testing will show them on track for the first time. 

Ahead of a 12-round, 24-race season, teams will roll out for big days at the track to get up to speed for the season.

With several drivers changing teams in the off-season, there is increased importance on test days heading into the 2024 season.

Ahead of this week’s on-track action, Supercars.com takes you through the what, where, when and why of pre-season testing.

The testing basics

djr engine test 2024

Each Supercars team is permitted just three test days per year, which in 2024 can be used between January 29 and December 6.

While drivers are permitted to swap cars during testing, only one chassis per Teams Racing Charter (TRC) is allowed on track.

Each car is allocated 12 new Hard tyres, 20 Soft tyres and 16 Super Soft tyres at the start of the season to be used for testing and as a pre-marked tyre bank for early events.

Corporate Rides, Evaluation Day, Demonstration Day, New Car Shakedown, and Promotional activities don't count as test days.

If a team elects to cease testing due to rain within two hours of their first lap or before 11:00am, whichever comes first, they will be deemed not to have used one of their test days.

Additionally, Dunlop Super2 Series teams are allocated six test days per year, allowing the second-tier drivers to further develop their skills.

What is pre-season testing?

Ahead of a long season, pre-season testing gives teams an opportunity to put laps on their cars on track. In 2024, there will be two pre-season test days — one for the Queensland teams, and another for the southern teams.

Over the years, pre-season test days have alternated from a single test day at a neutral venue for all teams and drivers, but in recent years, have taken place at local tracks for respective teams.

There is no requirement for an all-in pre-season test day in 2024. Unlike Formula 1 testing, for example, Supercars teams can run both cars on track at a time.

Where and when is pre-season testing in 2024?

hill percat msr camaro 2024

There are two official pre-season test days before the Thrifty Bathurst 500. Both test days are open to the public.

The Queensland-based teams — Triple Eight Race Engineering, Dick Johnson Racing, Matt Stone Racing and PremiAir Racing — will test at Queensland Raceway on Monday February 5. Admission is $10, and the cafe will be open from 7:30am to 2:00pm.

Victorian-based teams — Erebus Motorsport, Tickford Racing, Grove Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Team 18, and Blanchard Racing Team — along with Albury-based Brad Jones Racing will test at Winton Motor Raceway on Wednesday February 7. Admission is $5 for spectators, with free entry for children under 12 and BAC Members. It will also feature food, drinks and coffee.

Each of the three days of pre-season testing is set to begin at 8:30am local time and end at 5:00pm local time.


Both test days will be attended by representatives of the Supercars Technical Team.

Why do teams take part in pre-season testing?

Teams need time to bed in at-track processes before they go racing in 2024. While motorsport is unique, even footballers or cricketers need practice before they roll out for their games.

Critically, some teams have built new cars and, while they get a 60km shakedown day, a full test day is crucial to test the cars and make sure they are reliable before Race 1.

While teams do have a season of the Gen3 cars under their belts, there have been a number of aerodynamic revisions, so teams will also need to tweak set-ups.

Several drivers take to simulators away from the track, and for some, it might be the first real chance at laps in a car built by a different team — or, it could be a different model to them altogether. For rookies, it’s imperative to get as many laps as they can, full stop — importantly, that includes getting to know their engineers.

For the engineers, test days are important to collect data on their cars, to make sure it marries up with data captured from the previous season and in the workshop.

Why there’s added importance in 2024

brt 2024 livery main

As many as eight teams will have driver or team changes for the new season after one of the most rollercoaster silly seasons in recent memory.

Will Brown (Triple Eight), Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood (Erebus Motorsport), Nick Percat (Matt Stone Racing), David Reynolds (Team 18) and James Courtney (Blanchard Racing Team) will all drive for new teams.

Ryan Wood (Walkinshaw Andretti United), Aaron Love (BRT) and Jaxon Evans (BJR) will make their full-time debuts, with Richie Stanaway making his comeback with Penrite Racing.

Of confirmed line-ups, only Shell V-Power Racing Team and PremiAir Nulon Racing will head into the new season with an unchanged driver roster. Tickford Racing, meanwhile, has downscaled to two cars for the new season.

What you should watch for, and does the stopwatch matter?

This is the first proper chance to see the cars on track with the new aerodynamic package. Eyes will be on how teams respond with the tweaked cars following an historic fact-finding mission to the United States, with two cars taken through a wind tunnel.

Last year, there was a rush to pre-season testing as teams raced to get the new cars ready. This time, they have a whole year under their belts, so a team’s performance in testing could provide a telling look at how they will go this season.

That includes how many laps teams get in, but also how fast they are. Teams will be keeping an eye on the stopwatch as they test different set-ups, but as is the case in all motorsport, times in testing need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Let’s not forget, Erebus was fast and clocked plenty of laps in pre-season testing last year, and won both championships…

On the whole, teams don’t really show their full hand in pre-season testing, which makes it tricky to predict who will be on song come Round 1. However, if some teams really show strengths, or hit trouble, then we may have a picture of what to expect at Mount Panorama in three weeks’ time.

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