Opening practice for the Wilson Security Sandown 500 will determine if Red Bull Racing has solved the vibration issue on Jamie Whincup’s new chassis.
Set to debut a new car at this weekend’s pre-Bathurst enduro, Whincup is confident his team has fixed the problem that restricted crucial mileage at its only private test day at Queensland Raceway last month.
While time will tell if the fix has been successful, the Red Bull driver is hopeful the lack of testing has not further hindered his quest to catch the pace-setting Prodrive Fords.
“We had a horrid (test) day at the track unfortunately but a lot has been done since then and we believe we found the issue which is around the exhaust mounting,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com.
“We feel we have come up with a solution so fingers crossed that is the case.
“We cannot guarantee it but we have done everything we can to fix the issue and time will tell when we roll out on Friday.
“We don’t know (how damaging the lack of testing will be) until we roll out at Sandown,” he continued.
“Clearly we needed to make a gain and the only way to do that is through good testing and we didn’t get that.
“I hope it is not the nail in the coffin for us.
“We have been a bit behind the eight ball and we were massively relying on that day.
“It didn’t come but that is the way the cards were dealt.”
While Sandown has proved to be a happy hunting ground, Whincup concedes the favourites tag belongs to the Prodrive Fords this weekend.
Once a dominant force at the famous Melbourne circuit after recording back-to-back wins, the reigning V8 Supercars champion expects to have to dig deep to secure a strong a result come Sunday.
“Being one-two in the championship they (Prodrive) have been the stand out this year and without doubt they are the favourites coming into this weekend,” added Whincup.
“History doesn’t guarantee you anything. It has been good over the years at Sandown but we are going to have to grind it out this weekend.
“There are a lot of quick cars out there and they are going to be tough to beat.
“If we do an exceptional job I don’t see a reason why we cannot be as competitive as anyone, but if we don’t do a good job I’m sure we will get gobbled up.”