Four brand-new S5000s have turned wheels for the first time in what series organisers have declared a successful evaluation day at Phillip Island.
The test at the flowing Victorian circuit marked the first time that multiple S5000s had been on-track at the same time, with only the prototype having previously been driven.
According to S5000, the new, Garry Rogers Motorsport-built cars ran ‘faultlessly’ in 20-minute sessions, although the day was cut short at around 1500 (local time/AEST) due to heavy rain.
GRM Virgin Australia Supercars Championship driver James Golding drove the prototype, and said it was a stark contrast to his experience in the car at the twistier Winton circuit earlier this month.
“This car is great for this track,” he declared.
“The car can really spread its wings and get good speeds. Coming into turn one is definitely hairy.
“We made a few changes with car to get it a bit more balanced. It started on the edge, but we have made it settled and starting to get more up to speed. It was certainly very fun to drive.
“I would love to race one. They are an awesome car to drive, and having 15 on the grid, would be absolutely awesome.
“I don’t know what’s planned for me at this stage, but I’d definitely love to do it.”
The test was put on to give prospective customers an opportunity to sample the V8-powered weapons ahead of the inaugural round at Sandown next month.
Australian open-wheel racing outfits Team BRM and AGI Sport were present, with the latter overseeing cars driven by former A1GP driver John Martin and 2019 Formula 4 champion Luis Leeds.
“This car is a beast,” exclaimed Leeds.
“Phillip Island is my favourite track, and to have the opportunity to go out there, have a blast, enjoy the horsepower, the aerodynamics, it’s awesome.
“I pooped my pants when I first got in it! I was wheel spinning in fourth gear, so you have to tame the beast. I’ve driven a lot of open wheelers, cars with lots of grip, but nothing with this much horsepower.
“They also have so much performance under brakes. They blew my mind, because they do things that you feel aren’t possible, so it was really cool.”
Martin, who is also a competitor in this year’s first ever TCR Australia season, hopes to add S5000 to his program.
“Phillip Island is usually really cool to drive, but in a car like S5000, this place comes alive,” he said.
“I had a couple of runs this morning, and it was mega. This car is so much fun to drive. Everyone here has had a pretty good day. It has gone really well.
“I’m reasonably close to locking in Sandown. I want to be there, but in this sport, nothing is done until it is signed.
“I need to work on a few things to get some support. I definitely want to be there. I’m 50 percent sure that I’ll be there – I just need to work on a few things to make it happen.”
S5000 Round 1 will be held on the Shannons Nationals program on September 20-22, with multiple Formula 1 grand prix winner Rubens Barrichello and 2013 Pro Mazda champion Matt Brabham confirmed for starts at Sandown.
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