Lee Holdsworth says that a full technical support package from Triple Eight will play a crucial role in getting Charlie Schwerkolt’s brand new Team 18 up to speed in the V8 Supercars Championship.
The Melbourne-based outfit is having its first full track hit-out today in a 16-car pre-season test at Winton Motor Raceway.
Delivered to Team 18’s Dandenong base in late January, Holdsworth’s Holden is the first Car of the Future chassis built by Triple Eight.
The purchase comes with a parts and technical support package from the front-running team and sees Shane van Gisbergen’s engineer Grant McPherson on hand to provide extra help at today’s test.
“We have got massive support from Triple Eight,” Holdsworth, who has spent 10 seasons in the championship racing against Triple Eight cars, told Speedafe.com.
“Having Grant (McPherson) here is massive for us to be able to pick the bones out of these cars and teach us what they have learned over the years.
“Triple Eight are 90 percent of the time the benchmark for the category so to be able to overlay their data is going to be huge for us to identify our strengths and weaknesses.
“It will just give us a better direction, a more clear direction on which way to go.
“This front-end is a little bit different to what they (Triple Eight) are running at the moment as they have made changes to their car over the past year.
“They have gone to a different upright which has improved certain aspects of their car. We are just seeing if that can transfer to what we have got at the moment.”
Holdsworth, who undertook a ride day at Winton last Wednesday, admits that adapting to the Triple Eight car has been made all the more challenging by the circuit’s new surface.
“It’s is very hard to get a back-to-back on what the car is like (compared to the Walkinshaw car) because of the track surface,” he said.
“At the moment I’m having to adapt a bit to the car. I sort of got a direction on that last week on the ride day.
“It is more of a flowing type of car than what I’m used to which is great because that is how you achieve speed with the Car of the Future.
“I’m enjoying getting on top of it and it is good that we have got this test day before Clipsal to iron out those driving techniques.”
Like Tekno Autosports, Team 18 has been structured around the Triple Eight support package and has been put together with minimal staff.
The team’s crew includes race engineer Jason Bush, who ran Tim Slade last year at Walkinshaw, and former Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport mechanic Janelle Navarro.
“It’s a massively different environment,” continued Holdsworth.
“It was a big operation at Walkinshaw and it is actually nice to be in a little one car garage because the focus is on you.
“I haven’t had that for a few years now. I’m really enjoying it and loving the challenge and feeling the potential of the car.”