Erebus unfazed by prospect of T8 resurgence
Friday 16th June, 2023 - 9:02am
Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan is unfazed by the challenge of taking on rivals such as Triple Eight Race Engineering which have tested during the long pre-Darwin break.
Exactly half of the 13 entries which are set to line up on the grid this weekend have tested since Symmons Plains in mid-May, specifically those from the four Queensland-based teams (including Triple Eight’s Supercheap Auto wildcard) and the Brad Jones Racing quartet at Winton.
Four other teams fronted at Winton on May 31 but three of those abandoned their testing before the two-hour cut-off due to wet weather while Erebus, which was going to use up a Driver Evaluation Day, did not turn a wheel at all before packing up its #9 Coca-Cola Camaro.
Triple Eight is Erebus’ nearest rival in the teams’ championship, notwithstanding that Walkinshaw Andretti United Mustang driver Chaz Mostert still holds third in the drivers’ standings, and Broc Feeney believes the Banyo-based outfit is now better able to react when its Camaros needs changes.
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Ryan, however, is “not too worried” about some teams theoretically having a leg-up upon arrival at Hidden Valley for the Betr Darwin Triple Crown.
“Half the Victorian teams didn’t test because they were rained out, same as us,” he told Speedcafe.
“Queensland teams tested; that’s alright, they’ve burnt up a day now so, not too worried.
“We’re more worried about the co-drivers towards the enduro season now, making sure we’re right there.
“We think we’ve got a pretty good base set-up so we’re confident we can come to any track and know that we should be close, and then just confident in our toolbox now knowing what we need to do to tune it.
“So, fingers crossed, confidence will be enough to get us over another weekend.”
Erebus re-signed David Russell and Jack Perkins as co-drivers for this year’s enduros, for Brodie Kostecki and Will Brown respectively, and has two test days up its sleeve this year whereas a majority of the field has just the one.
Whether the test day Triple Eight used earlier in the month will help Triple Eight and its back-to-back champion, Shane van Gisbergen, catch up remains to be seen for the New Zealander.
“It’s weird not racing much but we had a test day which was good; at least we get to try some stuff,” he said.
“It’s weird being in June and it’s only Round 5.”
Asked if Red Bull Ampol Racing unlocked a lot, van Gisbergen responded, “We’ll find out Saturday morning,” which is when Qualifying for Race 16 is held.
Meanwhile, Kostecki and Brown jetted off to the United States during the break along with their respective engineers George Commins and Tom Moore, to take in the NASCAR race at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“It was a little bit of Brodie’s ambitions [for NASCAR races], [and] introductions to who we know over there,” explained Ryan.
“Anthony Dickinson that’s there from our side through Terry Wyhoon [Image team owner], so just trying to learn what they’re trying to learn versus what we’re trying to learn.
“We’re just trying to see if something’s going to work. There’s nothing formal, it’s just feeling each other out and taking the opportunity while there’s time.”
Practice 1 at Hidden Valley starts this morning at 10:45 local time/11:15 AEST.