Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton has stressed the importance of next week’s test day as the squad aims to close the gap to pace-setters DJR Team Penske.
The Brisbane squad heads to Queensland Raceway on Tuesday for the second of three designated test days for the season with a spring in its step, after Shane van Gisbergen ended the team’s victory drought at Winton last time out.
This season has seen the multiple title winning force come under threat from a rejuvenated DJR Team Penske, who lead the championship standings having recorded five championship race wins from the 10 races to date.
Given the emergence of the Shell-backed Fords of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard, Triple Eight has thrown the spotlight on Tuesday’s test as it looks to build on momentum and move ahead of its rivals in the development race.
The test day, which they will share with DJRTP, offers a valuable opportunity to trial developments in search of better car speed.
Victorian teams including Prodrive and Garry Rogers Motorsport are also set to test the same day at Winton.
“This is one of the times that everyone can step up,” said Dutton of the test.
“I’m sure they’re (DJRTP) as keen as anyone to go testing and test ideas they’ve got and things like that, so we’ve got to really nail that day.
“That’s our next step. First, you’ve got to identify where you think the rewards are going to come from; where are you going to spend your ammunition?
“You’ve got limited tyres, you’ve got limited time – it’s just one day – so it’s super-critical to plan those.
They are killer days, test days, especially ones like this because you have to plan – not me, but the engineers and that – three cars to the second.”
While labelling the day ‘super-critical’, Dutton warned there are no guarantees the test will unearth the results required to move the car significantly forward.
“They’re the toughest days ever, and sometimes you don’t even find anything that looks like gold during the day,” he added.
“It’s only when you pore through the data and you put a few things together that you go, ‘Whoa, we’ve come up with something, we think; now we have to take it to the track and check,’ as in a next event.
“So that’ll be super-critical, that’s what we need to do, we need to nail that test day.”
The test arrives in a mini-break for Supercars teams as they prepare for the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown from June 16-18.