Cindric eager for V8 Supercars race chance
American teen Austin Cindric says he feels ready for an opportunity in V8 Supercars’ Dunlop Series after completing a full test with DJR Team Penske at Queensland Raceway.
The 17-year-old son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric flew to Australia for the evaluation running, which allowed DJRTP a full day of track action without using one of its three season test days.
It marked the second time the youngster has driven a V8 Supercar having sampled a Matt Stone Racing Dunlop Series Ford at the venue in 2014.
Although a Dunlop Series outing appears unlikely this year, Cindric says he feels ready to jump into a race situation should he be given the opportunity.
“Without a doubt (I feel ready to race),” Cindric told Speedcafe.com.
“By the end of the day I felt really comfortable and was quite happy with where I was at pace wise.
“If you were to have told me before the day was over that I’d end up a little over two tenths off of Fabian (Coulthard) on the same tyres I would of called you a liar.
“It was such a cool experience just learning the car and what it takes to be a V8 Supercar driver.”
Cindric has experienced a diverse array of machinery in recent years as he attempts to establish himself as a professional driver.
He currently competes full-time aboard a McLaren 650S GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge, as well as undertaking partial programs in NASCAR Truck and ARCA stock cars.
The North Carolina-based high school student has also garnered extensive experience in America’s Global Rallycross, which he remains connected to through a driver coaching role.
“I want to drive as many things as possible and if I was able to drive every race car on every weekend I’d be the happiest,” he said when asked of his career plan.
“There’s going to be a point in my career where I have to choose a path and whatever path that is is probably going to be the one that has the best opportunity for me to become a professional.
“If that puts me here in Australia driving a V8 Supercar I’d be very happy. It’s going to come down to what makes sense.
“I had quite a few conflicts on my schedule this year so it (the Dunlop Series) wasn’t really something I looked into for ’16, but it’s definitely a very attractive series.
“It’s cool that the cars they race now are the same as in the main game. So it’d be a great series to step into, have good opportunities as co-drivers and learn from the best.”
Cindric’s Ipswich test came under the guidance of full-time drivers Coulthard and Scott Pye, as well as highly regarded race engineer Phil Keed.
Testing the Falcon just days after racing his ARCA Ford Fusion at Pocono, Cindric says he enjoyed the challenge of learning the intricacies of the Australian touring car.
“I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but the first time I went out on track, instead of pulling the upshift I clicked the radio chat paddle,” he smiled.
“It was a challenge adapting to the right side of the car but other than that it was just another race car.
“Essentially it’s a very low grip tyre with a tonne of horsepower. So for a driver it’s a lot of fun because you slide around a lot, it puts the driver in the seat quite a bit.
“You have to go elbows out in a couple of corners and have a little bit of fun.
“There’s a lot of chassis roll in these cars, which is quite a bit different to what I’m used to with the GT stuff.
“Power down grip is incredibly important and what you have to compromise sometimes to have the right turn and power down is a big thought process.”
Cindric is yet to attend a V8 Supercar race, but says he’s looking forward to seeing how they compare to the diverse array of events he’s experienced in the US.
“The one thing I always think about is the different atmospheres,” he said.
“As a driver it doesn’t change your pace, but it definitely changes your perspective (on a series).
“The rallycross world is pretty much motocross meets racing. It’s high energy and there’s always something happening. It’s as much of a show as it is a racing event.
“NASCAR has a tonne of history and a big fanbase, which is the same as what I see in Australia. The fans are way into it and just love their motorsport, not the glamour of it.
“Then you’ve got GT3 where it is about glamour, cool manufacturers and high price tags. It’s cool to experience all of those things.”