TeamVodafone establish strong direction for season opener following intense two-day testFor Immediate Release: Tuesday March 17, 2009TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes looked more than ready to take on the competition and defend the ...
TeamVodafone establish strong direction for season opener following intense two-day testFor Immediate Release: Tuesday March 17, 2009TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes looked more than ready to take on the competition and defend the team's outstanding 2008 results ahead of the much anticipated season opener, Adelaide's Clipsal 500, during a pit-stop challenge with fans in Rundle Mall today.
The duo took on Port Adelaide Football Club players and TeamVodafone fans in a fast-paced pit stop challenge that saw several teams perform a complete tyre change against the stopwatch.
"We always look forward to the Pit Stop Challenge," said Whincup. "It's great to spend some time with fans before our first race meeting.
"Vodafone puts on a terrific event here each year, today was no exception. It was fun to take on the Power players and get our competitive mindset going ahead of the weekend."
Last week the pair had an intensive two-day testing schedule at their home circuit which showed they were well-prepared to kickstart their 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series campaign on the streets of Adelaide this week.
Crew and drivers toiled from dawn until dusk last Wednesday and Thursday, rolling their brand new racecars onto Queensland Raceway for the first time.
The sessions were spent learning the characteristics of the evolved body design which promotes greater front grip, working with new engines and bedding new and improved parts.
Added challenges included testing the efficiency of the new category standard E85 fuel, plus a softer compound tyre.
In total, five V8 Supercars from the Triple Eight Race Engineering stable hit the track, built in house during a hectic off-season.
A crowded track and intermittent rainy weather on Wednesday hampered progress, but the team was satisfied with the gains it made across the course of Thursday.
This performance was reflected in the results of its customer cars, regularly topping the time charts and rarely outside the top 6 positions.
Defending champion Jamie Whincup said he was satisfied with the progress made at the conclusion of the two-day test.
"As it was its first time on track, the car had a few small problems on Wednesday but we managed to iron them out across the course of the day," said Whincup.
"Thursday was much more productive -- we had a drier track and had a much better direction to take the setup in, which resulted in significant gains.
"We were able to work on a solid qualifying setup and are quietly confident heading into Clipsal this week."
Whincup won the popular season opener on debut with the team in 2006, and scored a second victory in 2008.
Teammate Craig Lowndes took a number of positives from the test at Queensland Raceway, including the opportunity to run a full race simulation.
"The test was all about bedding in the cars for Clipsal," said Lowndes.
"We learnt a lot about the characteristics of the car on track and how it will run on the new E85 blend of fuel.
"Despite being slightly interrupted by rain I did a full-blown 250 kilometre race simulation with pitstops and the car ran faultlessly.
"This gave us a really good idea on how it will respond on tyres at the differing stages of wear.
"Along with testing the cars we were also able test the pitcrew in a number of race situations which will be valuable come race day."
The Clipsal 500 is the opening event of the 14-round V8 Supercar Championship Series, and features 2 x 250km legs across Saturday and Sunday.
Whincup clean swept both legs in 2008, kickstarting a dominant season in which he won six rounds, including a third consecutive Bathurst 1000 title with Lowndes.