V8 SUPERCAR DRIVER CAM McCONVILLE TESTS FORMULA 3 CAR FOR RPM FEATURE WOW Racing Holden V8 Supercar driver Cameron McConville has called his first experience of a top-level car from the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship "an absolute...
V8 SUPERCAR DRIVER CAM McCONVILLE TESTS FORMULA 3 CAR FOR RPM FEATURE
WOW Racing Holden V8 Supercar driver Cameron McConville has called his first experience of a top-level car from the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship "an absolute buzz'.
McConville, in his role as a reporter and expert commentator for Network Ten's flagship motorsport program RPM, tested a Transwest Racing / Total Developments Dallara F304 Mugen, prepared by RALT Australia, at Oran Park Raceway today (Monday) for an upcoming drive feature on the long-running and successful show.
McConville completed over 30 laps of the South-Western Sydney circuit; setting a time that would have put him on pole position for the V8 Supercar race by over one second -- despite limited laps and the constant process of working his way back into the open-wheel groove.
It was the Melbourne-based drivers' first experience of a current-spec Formula 3 car and his first drive in an open-wheeled car for over ten years.
RPM will air the feature next Sunday (April 20th) between 1 -- 2PM.
McConville, who has been competing full-time in V8 Supercars since 2000, won the 1992 Formula Ford championship and also briefly raced a Barber Dodge car in the United States in the late 1990s, before committing to his domestic Touring car career in Super Touring and then V8 Supercar.
He finished third in the season' opening Clipsal 500 Adelaide this February in his maiden drive this year for Brad Jones / WOW racing.
After his long time out of the seat Cam said he was thrilled to be back in a 'real' racing car.
"It was a buzz, its one of my most enjoyable days in a race car for some time," he enthused.
"You enjoy driving a V8 when it's all right and on song - and days like Clipsal when you get a podium are great -- but today was a really fun day with no pressure. I have to say for it felt pretty foreign for the first six or seven laps but it started to come back to me and I felt like a teenager again -- It started to come back how committed you have to be - but how rewarding the car is back to you when you start to trust the grip level."
"I was probably a bit nervous going into it," he added.
"The last time I was in a wings and slicks car I ended up on my roof in the corkscrew at Laguna Seca -- helped over by a hot-headed Brazilian driver!, Today I didn't want to disgrace myself and spear off the track - but I'll drive home tonight with a big smile on my face, it was a lot of fun."
Cam also noted that he felt the experience would assist his analysis of Formula one racing in his role as an expert commentator alongside host Greg Rust, for each round of the championship.
"That's why we wanted to do this," he explained. "It was great to experience aero grip again. Sure F1 cars are bigger and a lot faster but it all works the same way -- the downforce and the mechanical grip that the cars have; all the stuff we talk about on the telecast,"
"It probably took me 15 laps to work up to being flat at the dogleg, but when I was flat it was easier because the aero was working and the car was being pushed into the ground." He said.
"It was a good experience - hopefully all the viewers will see the show, see that I have driven an open wheeler and not bag us too much on our next telecast!"
14 cars attended Monday's Oran Park open test, with at least 18 expected at the next round of the championship in two weeks time (April 25 -- 27). After strong showings at A1GP and Clipsal, respectively, McConville said that he saw Formula 3 on an upward curve in the Australian Motorsport landscape.
"The series is going from strength to strength," he said.
"If (any series) is to be taken seriously it needs to show good numbers and I think F3 has done that this year. They have really stepped up. The series has had good numbers at Clipsal, the Grand Prix and other showcase races but if it can have between 18 to 23 or 24 cars at each round then it shows it's a very serious championship.
"The cars are serious to drive so if you can have the depth it's good; A lot of categories claim the numbers but they don't have the depth of field so if F3 can get more youngsters into the field it will make it even more of a legitimate stepping stone.
'When F3 was running at Clipsal, on our calendar, I thought 'ah, proper race cars!' and would go out and watch them on pit wall -- so there is definitely a level of interest from amongst the V8 drivers.
'It would be nice to have Australia's Premier Open Wheel category at all of our rounds," he said.
RPM will air the feature story recorded at Oran Park this weekend, between 1 -- 2PM on Sunday April 20.