Soft tyre challenge for Davies debut
Adjusting to Dunlop’s soft compound tyre has proven the biggest challenge for Shae Davies ahead of his Supercars Championship debut at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The 26-year-old steps into the main game with Erebus Motorsport following 18 months in the Dunlop Series, which exclusively uses the tyre supplier’s harder compound.
Only enjoying brief runs in the #4 Holden during practice at Winton and Ipswich earlier this year, Davies spent a full day testing at the Victorian venue on Thursday.
Although switching from a Prodrive-built, previous-generation Dunlop Series Ford to a Walkinshaw-built Car of the Future specification Holden is a major change, the rookie stresses that the tyre is the biggest factor.
The Sydney event will exclusively use the soft tyre, with 24 available to each car across the weekend.
“The cars are fairly different, they are probably 80 percent of the same car but you can certainly feel the difference in the way they come off the corners,” Davies explained.
“The soft tyre has been the biggest difference, there is a lot more grip than the hard tyre so getting my head around that, and getting the most out of the tyre is the biggest element.
“I haven’t had a lot of mileage so I am really appreciating every lap and I have come to grips with it reasonably well.
“There is always room for improvement but I am feeling more and more comfortable in the car each time I go out.”
While yesterday was a rookie test aimed at helping Davies get up to speed, Erebus took the opportunity to throw a number of development ideas at its second Commodore.
The team had not tested since its initial pre-season hit-out with its two Holdens thanks to a scheduled run ahead of Darwin in June being rained out.
“It was our first real test day this year, it’s the first time we have been able to really try some new things,” said Erebus general manager Barry Ryan
“Some of the changes were pretty radical but we probably have a bigger bag of tricks now.
“Shae gave good, honest feedback; better feedback than what we thought, which allowed us to do more changes than what we normally would have felt comfortable doing with a rookie.”
Modest expectations have been set for Davies’ debut in the highly competitive Supercars Championship.
The Gold Coaster sat ninth in the Dunlop Series after four events with MW Motorsport, fourth of those in previous-generation machinery.