Triple Eight Race Engineering has completed the maiden test day for its Bathurst wildcard entry with Craig Lowndes and Declan Fraser both behind the wheel of the Supercheap Auto car.
“We’ve obviously worked really closely with Declan outside of the car at race meetings, but to finally get an opportunity to share the car with him, to hear how he reads the car and how he feels the car is very similar to the way I do, so that’s a big positive,” said Lowndes.
“Knowing that when we go to Bathurst, we’ll be able to improve the car for each other which is invaluable. The ergonomics have suited us well, and the car come out of the transporter strong; no vibrations or issues, and our focus was to give Declan a lot of laps so he could get used the the extra grip of the ZB Commodore compared to his Super2 car. Getting us both comfortable in the car has been our main objective today.
“I think we’re ninety-percent there, but we have to do a couple of little things back at the workshop once we leave this test day, because you can’t finalise it until you actually drive the car. All in all, it’s been very seamless. We know Declan is going to do double-duties (Super2 and Supercars) come Bathurst, so we’ve been working hard on getting those little things that are different between his Super2 car and our wildcard car the same for him, so it’s easy for him to transfer into each car.
“Romy (Mayer, race engineer) has been fantastic – she’s a talent in her own right. She’s been around the team for a long time, and for her to get this opportunity to engineer our car is great. She’s calm and she’s getting used to working with Declan and I, but we’re building a really good relationship between drivers and engineer.
“Roland (Dane, team manager) has also been out today giving his two bob’s worth – he could never come out to a test day and not have anything to say – in a positive way. He’s been keeping a very close eye on Declan and how he’s progressing and analysing the lap times between us. Broc (Feeney, Red Bull Ampol Racing driver) has been quite interactive with Declan, and I know they’re very close friends. It’s good to see the drivers out here supporting Declan and the team.”
Fraser will make his main-game Supercars debut in the wildcard entry at Bathurst, tapping into Lowndes’ vast experience.
“We came out to Queensland Raceway mainly to focus on the ergonomics between Craig and I, and to make sure we’re both comfortable in the car,” said Fraser.
“So far, we’re very similar in the way we like to sit in the car and how we like the car to feel, so we made pretty big gains in that area and everything seems to be moving forward pretty well. There’s quite a difference between this car and my Super2 car, namely the aero.
“That’s been a massive learning experience for me today, mainly trusting the tyres a lot more. It’s also a little different in the throttle in certain aspects, but I got used to it after the second run, so I’ve been able to adapt to it quickly.
“Romy had a plan for us at the start of the day, and we’ve stuck to it. She has been really awesome in the race engineer role. She’s done everything you could ask for an engineer to do before we got to the track, and everything is running very smoothly.
“Roland has also been out at the track supervising throughout the day. It’s really good to have him in the background keeping expectations in check. Having that support is really comforting. I’ve also had Broc giving me a few tips throughout the day, and he’s been working with Romy on the data and finding little bits and pieces in the data for us.
“Looking forward, we have Townsville in a couple of weeks which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll be in my Super2 car so it’ll be a little different, but any laps are good laps. All in all, we’ve had a super day at our first wildcard test, and it’s put us in good stead as we prepare for the Great Race in October.”