The first round is in the books and the cobwebs have well and truly been blown off. That means one thing, the Grand Prix is in town.
The Australian Grand Prix is a non-championship round, which means there are no championship points on offer, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to play for.
Four races across three days means a lot of time to play with setup, collate data, and for Scott Pye, more time behind the wheel.
As he said after Clipsal, it’s a different car to what he has driven in the past, so he is still adjusting his style to suit.
The long-loaded corners will present a different challenge to the one faced at Clipsal, and with Tasmania and Phillip Island on the horizon, the opportunity to fine tune the car is invaluable.
The other unknown to throw in the mix is the new Dunlop super soft tyre, which will be used for the entire event.
Apart from a flying lap at the end of the test day at Sydney Motorsport Park, no running has been done on the new compound yet, so gaining an understanding on how it behaves will be a priority.
The team heads up the Princes Highway confident of a strong showing for a couple of reasons. The pace at Clipsal was good, we were competitive their last year, and overall, we are the most successful Supercars team around Albert Park.
In fact, no one has got close to us over the 11 years. We’ve won 19 races, with no one else in double-digits.
James Courtney has been a race winner there in the past, and will no doubt be very keen to do it again, especially after two great drives in Adelaide.
Four qualifying sessions back-to-back-to-back-to-back on Thursday afternoon means it’s going to be vitally important to be on the money nice and early, which will set up the whole weekend.
There will be two 13-lap races on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday to round out the weekend.
Measuring success at this event is a little different to others. It’s important to have good car speed, to have gained as much data as possible, but also to have a straight car at the end of the weekend, ready for Tasmania a little over a week later.
FROM THE BOSSES DESK
“It’s going to be an important weekend for not only our team, but every team in terms of understanding the super soft tyre. We didn’t do any proper running on it at the test day, so for us to get some valuable knowledge on how it behaves in qualifying spec and race spec will be paramount.
“Getting Scotty more in tune with the car and more comfortable with his ergonomics and more comfortable within the team is another important item to tick off the list.
“We go there with mixed plans at the moment. You go there wanting to put your best foot forward, and wanting to put on a show for the fans and the sponsors, but equally you go there wanting to try some different set ups and get a better read of the tyre for Tasmania onwards.
“We hope to go there and have a strong weekend, put in place what we learnt last year, and get a better understanding of the requirements of the super soft tyre this year.