HRT edging towards first COTF test run

The Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander and James Courtney run nose-to-tail

The Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander and James Courtney run nose-to-tail

The Holden Racing Team continues to work away on its Car of the Future program and could have its first 2013-specification car on-track as early as this week.

Members of the factory Holden team remained on  COTF duties at its Clayton, Melbourne, base across the weekend while the racing crew competed at the nearby Dick Smith Sandown 500, ensuring that its first car is now just days away from completion.

When it is ready, the car will undertake an initial shakedown run at Calder Park.

Like Ford Performance Racing’s maiden COTF outing two weeks ago, it is expected that the HRT’s shakedown will be extended beyond the mandated 20 laps so that the team can assess its own gearbox cooling solutions on behalf of the category.

The HRT’s racing operations manager, Mike Henry, told that while his team is working hard on its new cars, it won’t rush its first unit onto the track.

“We’ll shake it down when it’s ready, and hopefully that’s sooner rather than later,” he said, adding that various components are still to arrive from outside suppliers.

“If it’s this week, that’d be fantastic, but there’s plenty of days available to us to go and do shakedowns and bits and pieces like that.

“We don’t want to put pressure on our blokes to push a car out the door without taking our time to build the car right in the first place.

“We’ve taken a slow and steady approach, and we’re happy that our first car will be a good, solid car, finished to full-spec.”

The make-up of the HRT’s post-shakedown testing program is yet to be decided, with the team weighing up options for its single ‘manufacturer’ test day that is allowed to be completed away from its home track at Winton.

It appears that the team will either join Ford Performance Racing at Sydney Motorsport Park on October 15, or take up an already booked November 22 date at Phillip Island.

Henry confirmed that its final decision will not be influenced by the timing of the new VF model Commodore aerodynamic package, which isn’t expected to be seen on team-built cars until the new year.

“There are so many things to test with COTF that even if you went somewhere in a Force 9 gale and zero spoilers you’re still going to get something out of it,” he said of completing the team’s first tests with the current model sheet-metal.

“For us, we do have to do aero work to understand the aero package when we go to VF, but we’ll go to the VF when it’s the right time for everybody concerned to do so.”

HRT drivers Tander and James Courtney currently sit sixth and 11th in the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship standings respectively, while the third Walkinshaw Racing-prepared entry of Russell Ingall is 14th.

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