Percat: Time will tell on testing gains

Tom Howard

Wednesday 15th August, 2018 - 11:11am

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Nick Percat during Tuesday’s Winton test pic: Brad Jones Racing

Nick Percat says potential gains found from testing at Winton will only be truly realised once the team conducts running at other circuits given the Victorian track’s unique characteristics.

Percat joined Brad Jones Racing on Tuesday for the the squad’s first in-season test of the year at the Victorian circuit in what proved to be an extensive day of evaluation.

The Albury team’s three Holden ZB Commodores driven this year by Percat, Tim Slade and Tim Blanchard, and their respective Pirtek Enduro Cup drivers Macauley Jones, Ash Walsh and Dale Wood, logged more than 150 laps each as the outfit trialled new components.

However, Winton’s unusual surface has the 29-year-old unsure if gains will be translated to other circuits.

“I think you want to go testing when you think you’ve got a few ideas that you want to find out the answers to,” Percat told Speedcafe.com.

“We had some new bits to go through the cars and new philosophy ideas. We did a lot of things. Between both cars we’ve done well over 150 laps each. We have done a lot.

“But, it’s very difficult testing at Winton; the surface and stuff like that is like no other track, so you end up finding that it is quite hard to test. These things that work here don’t always transition to work in other places.”

“I think for all the Victorian teams its actually really hard but we’ve just stuck to our program and tried to be clear on what we’re finding out and what tests we did.

“But it doesn’t always excite me going testing at Winton because you can leave here and have a car that’s been a rocketship but it won’t mean anything at any other round. It’s difficult.”

For Percat the focus was around trying to improve qualifying speed having struggled for consistency in that discipline

The South Australian has qualified inside the top 10 for 10 of the 21 races but has failed to break into the top 20 on the grid in his last two attempts.

Although in race trim the car has proven it has front running pace most notably at Sydney Motorsport Park last time out when he surged from last to eighth, his fifth top 10 in the last seven races.

“I think both the Freghtliner car and my car is just the qualifying speed we need to be a bit sharper in qualifying because at Sydney Motorsport Park we were last at one point and came back through on genuine speed,” he added.

“And when we go through all the numbers, it’s like, we had a car that’s quick enough to be in the top four.

“The focus is to try and work on qualifying speed.

“There was nothing we can do at Winton because we didn’t have any fresh tyres.

“We just went through a lot of other testing programs that we had already thought about.

“Hopefully a few things that will help us in the meantime but until we put a new tyre on the car we’re not sure.”

Percat displayed his new look Mobil backed Commodore during the test which will make its race debut at next week’s OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park from August 24-26.

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