Bryce Fullwood has had his first taste of real-world racing since the coronavirus pandemic began with a test at Winton Motor Raceway.
The 22-year-old cut laps in a Toyota FT-40, the first-generation open-wheeler run in New Zealand’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
The car is part of the MTEC Motorsport stable led by team owner Bruin Beasley.
It’s the first time Fullwood has been on track since the ill-fated Melbourne 400, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Darwin-born driver completed roughly 60 laps around the 3.0 km circuit, dusting off the cobwebs after nearly three months out of a cockpit.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Fullwood said he was excited to get back out on track after weeks of online racing.
“We’ve been playing computer games and sitting on the couch for way too long, so it was really cool to get back into a race car,” said Fullwood.
“Having moved from Queensland to Melbourne to follow my dream to drive race cars, it sort of all fell apart on me pretty quick.
“I’ve been down here away from my family and counting down the days until I get to go and drive a race car again. It was a pretty exciting day.”
It’s the first time Fullwood has driven a wings-and-slicks single-seater, which he said was a challenge getting used to.
“I have only ever done six laps in a Formula Ford, that’s my open-wheeler experience, period,” he said.
“That was when I was 14 too, so I haven’t really done any open-wheeler laps any more.
“The biggest thing for me is that I haven’t driven car but also haven’t really driven an open-wheeler with wings and slicks. It was a pretty different day out for me.
“It does just about everything different to the Supercar,” Fullwood said of the Toyota-powered single-seater.
“It was good fun trying to learn something different, to be honest.
“Obviously Supercars are really cool to drive, but at the end of the day, I just love driving race cars and driving cars fast.
“To drive anything is cool and to drive something different and have to adapt was a good challenge. I enjoyed it.”
When the opportunity to test the single-seater was presented, Fullwood said he jumped at the opportunity given the extended period of down-time.
However, other drivers might not be so fortunate to get on track. That’s something Fullwood believes could throw a spanner in the works at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“It would be really nice to have a test day in the Supercar, but it sounds like that’s probably not going to happen,” said Fullwood.
“Personally, I don’t know if it’s a good recipe to have all these drivers not have done anything and then roll straight into SMP and go racing.
“There’s a high possibility that it will take people a little bit longer to get back into the groove, for sure.
“I’m thankful that I’ve been able to drive something at least before then.”
As a result of the coronavirus-induced break, Fullwood said he is fitter than he has ever been in his career.
He is looking forward to the resumption of play at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27-28 where he’ll reconvene with his Walkinshaw Andretti United team.