How maturing Brown impressed Tander, Skaife

01 May
"At the start, he probably would’ve blown the tyres off it, two or three years ago"
4 mins by James Pavey
  • Will Brown defeated Broc Feeney in thrilling Taupō finale

  • Brown leads Feeney by 71 points heading to Perth

  • Brown victory set up by race runs in Friday practice

Will Brown's plan and execution in his run to Taupō victory has impressed Mark Skaife and Garth Tander, who suggested the championship leader is showing greater maturity in 2024.

Brown fought through the field to claim his third win of the season in New Zealand earlier this month, sealing victory after a thrilling battle with teammate Broc Feeney.

Starting fifth, Brown overtook Anton De Pasquale and former teammate Brodie Kostecki in the first stint, before managing his tyres and safely getting past Feeney.

Tander cited Brown’s work in Friday practice as key to understanding how to play the long game and earn rewards on race day.

In 14 timed laps in the Friday practice session, Brown set 12 between a 1:27.6s and a 1:28.1s as he and engineer Andrew Edwards sought to find race pace balance.

Full battle: Brown overhauls Feeney in tense fight

“I think the fact that he had to drive through the field… you enjoy the ones where you start from pole, you get the start and you drive off into the distance,” Tander said on Supercars Trackside.

“But when you have to work for it — the work that he put in on Friday managing the tyre, and understanding how to manage the tyre over a longer run.

“When you can put that into good use on a Sunday afternoon and you get a race win off the back of it — that’s what makes it satisfying.

“That’s probably a bit of maturity starting to come in with Will Brown. At the start, he probably would’ve blown the tyres off it, two or three years ago.

“But now he’s understanding that the work you put in, and the effort you put in in the lead-up to these races, you get big rewards.”

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“It was hard. I didn't want to bump him and put him off or put both of us off, so it was really hard,” Brown said.

“I just worked him a little bit. Out of Turn 9, I was getting a better run and I was putting him into the marbles into Turn 11, and getting a bit of dirt on his tyres and playing the game.

“He said after to me, ‘I knew what you were doing there.’ It was cool. I just think it was an awesome battle, no matter what, so, absolutely loved it.

“[Feeney] was smart enough to dive straight for the apex at Turn 5, but also Turn 11, so I was sort of snookered, I didn't know where to go.

“But, he had pretty good drive off Turn 11, so I couldn't go wide and switch him back. It was tough, I think where I got him was a good move.

“I locked the rears and thought, ‘Oh, don't put him in… Don't door him here. I'll get my first written warning or something.’

"I thought, better not, but that was awesome.”

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Mark Skaife echoed Tander’s comments, saying: “I thought it was really, really high level — I don’t remember a better drive from Will Brown.

“I thought his patience was really good. I was anticipating the frustration building and building, and I think it was commensurate with tyre pressure and temperature.

"But as he came through the field, he drove really, really well. We made the comment on Friday afternoon about how strong he was in his race runs. He put it to great effect.

"We talk about inter team battles like this one with Anton, but even when you’ve got two people at their very best, whether it’s Senna and Prost, racing against each other...

"We have seen through the history of car racing, some of the best battles happen within the same team. And that was a great battle."

Brown leads Feeney by 71 points heading to the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint on May 17-19. Tickets are on sale now.

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