Triple Eight ‘learning the basics’ at COTF test
Triple Eight Race Engineering technical director Ludo Lacroix says that his team has been content to explore the basics of the Car of the Future package at its first car’s maiden hit-out today.
The team’s regular drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have put the car through its paces at a warm and sunny Queensland Raceway, mixing short on-track spells with extended stationary periods for checks and adjustments.
The Holden is being operated by a team of more than a dozen Triple Eight personnel, with key V8 Supercars technical staff David Swenson, Frank Adamson and Vincent Dumarski keeping a watching brief.
Representatives from component suppliers AP Racing (brakes) and Albins (transmission) are also on hand to keep abreast of developments.
“Today is really about learning the basics to understands where we must aim for,” Lacroix told Speedcafe.com of the test.
“We are trying to get feedback on as much as we can. It’s most important to learn what the (new 18-inch) tyre needs because as soon as we know that, the earlier we can build the rest of our cars and get them going quick.
“We are also trying to involve the V8 Supercars suppliers so that we can get something better for the whole category,” he added.
“They are helping us, through which they will help everybody else. That’s normal, we need to help them to help us.”
Much of the team’s focus has been on the rear-end of the car, which features an independent suspension set-up (replacing the current live-axle) and an Albins-supplied transaxle gearbox.
While gearbox temperatures have needed to be closely monitored, Lacroix says that sorting the rear-end was always going to be a major part of the first test.
“The rear end is so different to what we have now,” said Lacroix. “It’s multi-link, it’s multi-wishbone and so on, so it reacts very differently. We’re trying to get the best characteristic to match with the tyre. It’s definitely a lot of work.”
With only two sets of hard compound Dunlop tyres to play, expectations for lap times have been modest. Speedcafe.com’s unofficial timing has shown that the car has spent much of the day in the 1:10s and low 1:11s brackets, with both drivers fighting considerable corner exit oversteer.
By comparison, Lowndes set a best time of 1:09.26s during qualifying at the weekend’s Coates Hire Ipswich 300, while reports from V8 Supercars’ closed COTF prototype test from earlier this year suggest that the category-owned cars have lapped the six-corner course in the low 1:09s range.
According to Lacriox, the team will bring a raft of updates to the second of its two ‘manufacturer’ test days, scheduled to take place at Sydney Motorsport Park on October 15.
“Every time you hit the track you need to bring something new to make sure that you’re moving on,” he said. “We cannot spend days going around for no reason.”
Triple Eight will continue to use its first chassis at the October test, before introducing more cars to the fold when running recommences in early 2013.
Ford Performance Racing, Stone Brothers Racing, the Holden Racing team and Garry Rogers Motorsport are all expected to share the October 15 date with Triple Eight.