Walkinshaw Andretti United is using the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 season finale to gear up for next season by running dampers that are expected to become control components for 2020.
The Holden squad has fitted SupaShock dampers to both its ZB Commodores as part of a program to help prepare the operation for next year.
Supercars will introduce a control dampers for next season with SupaShock understood to have won the championship’s tender process.
James Courtney, who is departing the team at the end of the year, revealed following Practice 2 that he had been instructed to run through a program with the dampers.
“(I’m) sort of working through a program for those guys changing over to control SupaShock dampers, so this weekend is all about learning that; well, the team (learning that),” said Courtney, who ended Practice 2 in seventh spot.
WAU co-team principal Mathew Nilsson confirmed that SupaShock dampers had indeed been fitted to both cars in a switch from its usual supplier Ohlins.
Nilsson refused to confirm if the components are the exact specification to be used as control parts next year.
“You’re always trying stuff but obviously on the back end of the year we end up bringing some new things through, and run a bit of stuff through the enduros and stuff like that,” Nilsson told selected media.
“It’s nice to keep that work going here and keep learning, because (it is) a circuit like Newcastle, street circuit and stuff like that.
“It’s good progress in some of the development we’ve been doing.
“We normally run Ohlins, but we’ve had SupaShocks in the car this previous this year but Ohlins is our prominent brand.
“I can’t comment on what it is, but obviously we’re just working through a program there,” he added, when asked if the dampers were the specification to be used by the category next year.
While the team is keen to gather information for next year, Nilsson says it is not treating the finale round as a glorified test session.
“No, because we’ve got objectives with teams’ championship,” he said.
“We’ve sort of made some good progress in the back end of the year and Brad Jones (Racing), there’s a little bit of a battle with us going there.
“We’ve sort of jumped ahead of them at Sandown and then obviously we clearly want to keep progressing that.
“We’re out for results, it’s not sacrificing as such (but) use the opportunity.
“But we’re still out for results, and we want to send James and Scott off on a good note as well, get good results to finish off the year and finish off their time with us.”
Aside from the damper program, it proved to be an eventful day for the team which was forced to make a driver change for Practice 2.
Luff, who was already at the Newcastle East Street Circuit as an invited driver for the weekend’s Toyota 86 Racing Series round, finished the session in 21st position.
Nilsson is however hopeful Pye, who took part in Practice 1, will be fit enough to return tomorrow.
“He’s (Scott) going okay. At the end of the day he’s been unwell overnight and we’re just trying to let him recover and get himself fit for tomorrow,” Nilsson added.
The Supercars field will return to the track on Saturday for Armor All Qualifying at 1050 local time/AEDT.