Currently placed second in the 2011 British Formula Ford Championship standings, Nick McBride had his first proper taste of V8 Supercars at Winton yesterday.
The 20-year-old Victorian tested for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport alongside fellow youngsters Taz Douglas, Kristian Lindbom and Jack Le Brocq.
While not eyeing a move into tin-tops just yet, McBride spoke to Speedcafe.com’s Stefan Bartholomaeus about the Supercar test and his burgeoning open-wheel career.
SPEEDCAFE: How was the experience in the Supercar? A bit different to a Formula Ford…
NICK McBRIDE: Yes, a heap more power is the most obvious difference. In terms of driving style you can still be quite ragged with these things though.
I did 20 laps in total across two stints, and I thought I adapted pretty well. Taz (Douglas) went out in the morning and set a lap time for us to base ourselves off. In the first session, Kristian (Lindbom) and I did exactly the same time, about 1.2s off of Taz. Then we went out again and did a similar lap time for Taz which was great.
The main thing was just to get some laps in the cars and see what they felt like. The major difference for me was that the centre of gravity is so much higher in these things, so balancing the weight distribution is really where you find the lap time I think.
SPEEDCAFE: Getting a feel for the braking performance must have been a challenge as well?
McBRIDE: Definitely, I think braking is major in these things, certainly brake pressure. I struggled a bit with that early on. I was spiking a bit too late on the brakes which meant I had a bit too much weight over the front-wheels and was getting a bit of oversteer. We sorted that out for the last stint, which was good.
SPEEDCAFE: How did the test with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport come about?
McBRIDE: Bruin Beasley, who is the team manager here ran me in Australian Formula Ford back in 2009. He got in contact with my Dad and offered the test as a bit of a reward for how I’ve been going so far this year. I had about five or six laps at Eastern Creek (last week) at the team’s ride day, and now I’ve done the 20 laps here, so I’m really thankfull towards everyone here at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
SPEEDCAFE: You’ve had a pretty encouraging first half-season over in Europe. I gather the focus is still very much on the open-wheel side of things?
McBRIDE: Yes, certainly. We’re concentrating on finishing the second half of the season as strongly as we can. We’re second in the championship but my team-mate (Scott Malvern) is still in front of me, so I want to get in front of him by the end of the year.
SPEEDCAFE: Racing in British Formula Ford means you’ve spent a lot of time around the British Formula 3 Championship this year, and the latest Euro Cup round ran with Superleague. Is it exciting to see that level above where you are now?
McBRIDE: Definitely. Being around the British F3 guys and seeing how teams like Carlin and Fortec operate is awesome. We’re trying our hardest to get noticed over there to hopefully have a crack at British F3.
I’ve not actually seen the Superleague cars up close but they are quite quick, and seeing how well John Martin is doing is really encouraging. So it’s good to be over there and amongst it.
SPEEDCAFE: Everything going well with living over in England? It’s a bit of a change as well.
McBRIDE: Yeah, it’s been a real transition. The first thing was the weather. In January it gets dark at about 3:30 in the afternoon, but now it’s about 24 degrees and it doesn’t get dark until about 9:30!
The lifestyle is a fair bit different, but I think I’m adjusting to it well. I’ve got a job, and the other two Australian’s racing here in British Formula Ford (Geoff Uhrhane and Spike Goddard) live close by as well which is great.