Team 18 relishing freedom of independent set-up direction
Wednesday 29th March, 2023 - 6:00am
Team 18 is relishing the opportunity to shape its set-up direction after a promising start to the Gen3 Supercars era.
The Camaro squad arrives at this weekend’s Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint occupying third position in the teams’ championship after scoring three top 10s between Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom in the two races which made up the Thrifty Newcastle 500.
The season-opener was its first event back to competing independently of Chevrolet homologation outfit Triple Eight Race Engineering, from which it had been supplied chassis from 2016 until the end of the Car of the Future era, when it built its own.
Team 18 owner Charlie Schwerkolt told Speedcafe.com that one of the benefits was being able to tailor their cars to suit their own drivers.
“So far so good, but it’s very early days,” he said of the initiative.
“We’ve got some good engineering people and they’ve got to stand up and make it work.
“One of the big things is the drivers; we’d put Shane’s [van Gisbergen] set-up in and we’d go different, we’d put Broc’s [Feeney] set-up in and we’d go different again.
“Let’s engineer ourselves and go our own way of what we want and how the drivers want their cars.
“Whilst it’s not perfect at the moment, it’ll only get better with practice.
“We’ve got clever people here, the drivers know what we want, and standing on our own two feet is a good thing and it builds your team up.
“There’s nothing against Triple Eight – we’re buying all our bits off Triple Eight – but we’re pretty excited about that.”
According to Schwerkolt, progressing along a set-up direction was sometimes difficult due to reference back to a metaphorical ‘cheat sheet’.
“We did that [own set-ups] before as well, but you’d always have a cheat sheet to have a look and sometimes you’d go, ‘It didn’t really work for us,’ and sometimes you’d go back a bit and then start all over again in going forward,” he recounted.
“Sometimes the cheat sheet didn’t work – different driving styles or whatever reason – so this way, potentially you can just keep building and building and building instead of just keep looking at your cheat sheet and going, ‘Shit, we went the wrong way again.’”
Practice 1 for the Repco Supercars Championship field at Albert Park starts tomorrow at 11:25 local time/AEDT.
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