Erebus switches focus to Bathurst, Sandown
By Damion Smy
Tuesday 4th July, 2023 - 2:02pm
Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan has told Speedcafe that the team has switched its focus to the upcoming Sandown and Bathurst enduros in its bid for its first Repco Supercars Championship title.
That’s despite disappointing results at the previous Darwin round in a rare weekend where neither of the two Erebus Coca-Cola Chevrolet Camaro drivers made the podium across three races.
Further eating into the team’s lead was nearest rival Triple Eight’s one-two result in Sunday morning’s Race 14, with Broc Feeney leading home Shane van Gisbergen.
Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Principal Jamie Whincup explained that his team benefitted from a pre-Darwin test, using up one of its two in-season test days that Ryan says now gives the Coca-Cola Camaros an advantage.
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Teams were allocated four test days in 2023, with two of those mandated to be undertaken ahead of the first round at Newcastle in March, giving the field two in-season test days.
“We still have test days up our sleeves,” Ryan told Speedcafe.
“They’re [Triple Eight] going to struggle to get decent miles on co-drivers because there’s no co-driver sessions. They’ve only got one test day to try and get their co-drivers up to speed, we’ve got two.”
Erebus announced an unchanged endure line-up for 2023, with Brodie Kostecki pairing up with David Russell in the #99 Camaro, and Will Brown in the #9 with Jack Perkins.
Despite the continuity, the new Gen3 Supercars make seat-time even more critical this season.
Additionally, Ryan says that a poor weekend in Darwin is preferable to the higher points-paying Sandown and Bathurst events.
“Brodie lost 40, 50 points [at Hidden Valley],” Ryan said. “Because of the way the points work and these small races – these are the races if you’re going to get hurt, you get hurt, and it doesn’t hurt the championship too much.
“We don’t want to get hurt in the longer ones like Townsvilles, Sandowns and Bathurst. That’s pretty much the rest of the season, now – couple of sprint races and all the rest are bigger races.”
“So that’s our focus at the moment, two really massive races with co-drivers; they’re where the big points are.”
This weekend’s NTI Townsville 500 features the first refuelling races since the season-opener in Newcastle.
Thereafter, there are only four more non-refuelling races, namely one of the two at Sydney Motorsport Park and the three at The Bend.
Sandown and Bathurst follow, before pairs of 250km races at the Gold Coast and Adelaide to close out the season.
Practice in Townsville starts this Friday.