V8SDS: Howard Racing Winton preview

Best test yet has Howard Racing poised for Winton win Having shown numerous times that they possess the pace and sheer talent to win races, Howard Racing are out to turn around two consecutive rounds of bad luck by challenging for a round podium...

Best test yet has Howard Racing poised for Winton win

Having shown numerous times that they possess the pace and sheer talent to win races, Howard Racing are out to turn around two consecutive rounds of bad luck by challenging for a round podium at Winton Motor Raceway, the third round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.

The team was understandably deflated as its drivers became a proverbial punching bag in some over-ambitious moves at the previous round held at Wakefield Park, and are certain of reversing the results at the rural Victorian circuit.

The crew has spent long hours in meticulously preparing the 3 cars for Winton at their Gold Coast workshop, confident that they have provided Mark Howard, Andrew Thompson and Adam Sharpe with the best possible equipment to restore the 2006 Fujitsu Series champions to higher championship standings.

A comprehensive test session last week yielded some very positive results for the team, who spent the entire day improving their Ford Falcon V8 Supercars in a number of different areas.

Thompson completed 96 laps of the challenging Queensland Raceway circuit, and Sharpe notched up 105 laps.

Team Manager Warren Davis said that the day had been extremely encouraging, and was pleased to have been able to try a number of different setup options ahead of the Winton round.

"We were able to get on top of the cars early on in the day which was great, it gave us a chance to then experiment with various settings," explained Davis.

"Later in the day we were also able to test out a new brake package for Adam's car which seems to suit him very well, it should allow him to qualify a bit better and we worked on a number of aspects of qualifying strategy with him."

With 40 points to his name, Andrew Thompson acknowledges that he is playing a game of catch-up on the leading drivers, but is adamant that Winton will be a major turnaround, and is setting his sights firmly on a debut win with the team.

"I'm looking forward to Winton after we had a really good test out at Queensland Raceway last week, I am very happy with the direction we are heading with the car," said Thompson.

"We're confident we can have a mistake-free run and put in a good showing for the weekend, it hasn't been the start we've been after so far but we know we have the speed."

"There's still four rounds to go after this and lots of opportunities to make back points."

Thompson displayed dedicated racecraft, particularly in race 2 of the previous round, where he was able to make up 21 positions in the space of just 17 laps.

With years of international racing experience beneath his belt, British driver Adam Sharpe was understandably bemused by the antics of fellow competitors at Wakefield Park, seemingly trying to win the race on the first lap.

Pushed out of contention on a number of occasions, he is chasing a better qualifying performance to ensure he can concentrate on racing for position within the frontrunning pack of drivers.

"The team worked closely with me on getting a better qualifying position and being able to race with the front guys from the start of the weekend," said Sharpe.

"It's alot easier when you aren't having to pick your way through the pack and the previous round was an example of how messy it can get."

"I've actually taken on board a new braking package which worked really well at Queensland Raceway, and I feel as though its improved the balance of the car which will allow me to push harder and with more confidence."

Mark Howard was on hand for the test day, and completed around 15 laps in Sharpe's Falcon to get a feel for the new braking package.

He has opted to run with Sharpe's choice of setup, and is looking forward to a good showing at Winton.

Due to testing regulations, the team is only permitted to field two of its three cars at any test day, and Howard is confident that the progress the team made will also convert to a better setup on board of his car.

The Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series plays a supporting role to the 'main game' at Winton, and the Howard Racing drivers will contest 3 races across the course of the busy weekend.

The reverse grid format will once again come into effect during the middle race.

-credit: hr

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Series CAMS
Drivers Andrew Thompson , Adam Sharpe , Mark Howard