Hazelwood benefitting from McLaughlin input
Todd Hazelwood feels his Matt Stone Racing squad has moved forward after a productive test day that saw Scott McLaughlin turn laps in the Bigmate Racing entry.
The Supercars rookie had been desperate for a chance to further understand his package after a difficult start to life in the main game with MSR’s former DJR Team Penske Falcon FGX.
Hazelwood completed a trouble free outing that saw the reigning Super2 series winner evaluate set-ups while testing minor component upgrades.
The team also fielded current Supercars championship leader and Shell V-Power Racing driver McLaughlin for three timed laps to provide data and assistance in unlocking the potential from the car.
McLaughlin, who was permitted to run 10 laps as per Supercars regulations, provided valuable information in backing up the direction the team need to take with the car, according to Hazelwood.
“I think the best thing with Scott getting in the car, is that his feedback was exactly the same as mine,” Hazelwood, who is 23rd in the standings, told Speedcafe.com.
“I think it’s been mentally pretty tough this year, so it’s good to know that I’m still asking for the right things in the car and extracting the right things out of it.
“That was good, and I think the way the pace was Matt won’t have to sack me tomorrow so that’s alright as well,” he joked.
“We can press on and hopefully we can keep moving forward in the same direction that we’re currently pursuing.”
Hazelwood admitted the struggles in finding the sweet spot in his Falcon FGX has taken its toll on both himself and the team mentally.
He hopes a solid day of testing will lead to stronger results when the championship reconvenes at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown from June 15-17.
“I think getting a bit of clarity has been the biggest thing for us,” said Hazelwood.
“We’ve had so many ideas that have had a question mark next to them and we’ve been either reluctant to try it or we’ve tried things and it hasn’t been quite right because we haven’t had another aspect to support it.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s certainly been the most mentally challenging year for me in racing years.
“And normally you have a setback and you get back on a horse and you’re right and you move on.
“Whereas this year has just been setback after setback after setback, and it’s not just me, it’s the team as well.
“We’d like the car to be a bit more competitive, but when the game is so close you’ve got to have every aspect of the car on its’ game or you won’t be inside the top 15 if you’ve got one element missing, you’ll be somewhere at the back, that’s been us.
“We’ve had some elements missing or we’ve haven’t had the complete package and we’ve been nowhere we want to be.
“We’re already six rounds in, with 10 rounds to go, its still very early in the championship.
“Hopefully from this point onwards we can move forward.”
Testing continues today with Tickford Racing, Nissan Motorsport, Garry Rogers Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport all in action at Winton.