Tander: Kellys, SBR have major learning curve

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Friday 23rd November, 2012 - 2:55pm

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Garth Tander inside HRT's COTF at Phillip Island yesterday

Garth Tander inside HRT’s COTF at Phillip Island yesterday

Leading V8 Supercars driver Garth Tander says his Holden Racing Team and the other squads that are not switching manufacturers will have a major advantage next year.

The introduction of V8 Supercars’ Car of the Future regulations will see Nissan and Mercedes Benz/AMG enter the class, with Kelly Racing and Stone Brothers Racing campaigning the new marques respectively.

The HRT yesterday became the third team behind Ford Performance Racing and Triple Eight to complete its second and final ‘manufacturer test day’ prior to the start of its full, 10 day, testing allocation.

The Kelly-built Nissan Altima held its shakedown test earlier this month and, currently involved in V8 Supercars’ aerodynamics testing process, is not expected to have its first full-on test session until later in December.

SBR meanwhile shook down its first COTF in Ford Falcon FG form in mid-October, but is now awaiting the arrival of the first AMG-built engines and will not hit the track with its first Mercedes E-Class until February.

Despite the Holden teams having to complete initial COTF track testing with VE bodywork while the newer VF sheetmetal undergoes homologation, Tander says that the teams that already have their cars on track have a huge advantage.

“We do have an advantage and we’re exploiting that advantage,” Tander said.

“We can go into the summer with a huge amount of data. There’s a huge amount of change for us, and we’re running Commodores year on year.

“For those teams changing manufacturers it’s going to be a huge learning curve and not being on the track right now is a massive disadvantage

Yesterday’s Phillip Island test marked Tander’s first seat time in one of the 2013-specification vehicles, which feature independent rear suspension, a transaxle gearbox and a beefed up brake package, among other changes.

“You notice the technical changes compared to the cars we’ve been using for the past 10-15 years,” he said of the test, having raced V8 Supercars full-time since 1998.

“The first thing you notice is the braking capabilities, there’s much more braking power and you can brake later, which is good for passing. The car also has a lot more grip.

“We’re still working on a range of issues, and getting used to it, but you can certainly feel the way the car moves around the track differently and feel what it does as a platform.

“It’s not radically different to what we have now, but nicer and more refined than the current V8 Supercar.

“I enjoyed the test and it’s been encouraging for us moving forward with its development.”

See below for more with Garth Tander on Fox Sports News.

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