DJR testing for Bathurst 1000 at Pukekohe

Will Davison’s Ford Mustang in the pits at Pukekohe

The Shell V-Power Racing Team is competing at Pukekohe this weekend with an eye on preparation for next month’s Repco Bathurst 1000.

The Ford squad went one-two in Practice 1 at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, with Anton De Pasquale fastest on a 1:02.2066s and Will Davison next-best on a 1:02.4564s.

However, the latter revealed that they are also tuning their Mustangs for the next event of the Repco Supercars Championship, at Mount Panorama.

It is a strategy which stands to reason given Shane van Gisbergen’s drivers’ championship lead is a mammoth 500 points over the field, and comes after Walkinshaw Andretti United used much of the back end of the 2021 season to test for the Great Race, which it would dominate courtesy of Chaz Mostert/Lee Holdsworth.

For Dick Johnson Racing, on the other hand, Bathurst has been a relative bogey track in recent years.

Furthermore, only the hard compound of tyre is used at both Pukekohe and Mount Panorama.

“We started here with a strict programme,” said Davison.

“We’re trying a lot of stuff between us for not only this weekend [but also] Bathurst.

“Yeah, it’s an interesting day and we’re both quick but we’ve both got very different cars, so, interesting.”

Both he and De Pasquale were among those to use two sets of tyres in the opening, half-hour session at Pukekohe Park Raceway.

That means, of course, using up both of their ‘handback’ sets already, given New Zealand’s quarantine regulations prevent teams from taking used tyres across the ditch.

Davison put it down to the threat of rain tomorrow, when Practice 2 will take place.

“We sort of originally didn’t plan on it but with some rain looming tomorrow, we’re comfortable either way, whether we run this program or not,” he explained.

“So, it’s six or half [‘six of one or half a dozen of the other’], you know, one way or the other.

“So, we got a read, we got some info, we had a really good plan today, we had a lot of very different stuff in our cars between us, so we’ve got a heap of good stuff to go through.”

De Pasquale even completed something of a race simulation with a relatively long, 10-lap run in the middle of Practice 1.

He gave a similar explanation regarding using two sets of tyres in the first session of the weekend, and indeed, the first in three years at Pukekohe.

“We tossed and turned for a couple of weeks on what we were going to do there and thought, ‘Why not? Haven’t been here for a few years.’” said De Pasquale.

“[We will] Go to sleep with a little bit of knowledge of what to expect tomorrow, so it might put us on the back foot at some point but it worked out for now.”

Practice 2, another half-hour session, starts tomorrow at 11:35 local time/09:35 AEST.

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