BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 1 CALDER PARK, VICTORIA: Practice Report, Friday, April 3
Multiple Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards and Swedish manufacturer Volvo are the early pacesetters for Sunday’s opening round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series at Calder Park in Melbourne.
Richards was fastest in yesterday’s opening practice, and was als quickest in today’s second session with a best lap of 58.65-secs around the 2.2km circuit in a works Volvo Dealer Team S40 in fine conditions.
The 50-year-old Melbourne-based New Zealander was followed by Queensland’s Cameron McLean with 58.97-secs in a Greenfield Mowers Racing BMW 320, and Audi Sport Australia A4 quattro drivers Cameron McConville of Victoria and Albury’s Brad Jones. New Z aland’s Tony Newman completed the top five in a Peugeot 406. Richards and McLean were the only drivers to better the race lap record of 59.18-secs set by Queensland’s Paul Morris in a BMW 320 in 1997.
The Volvo being raced by Richards is making its debut in the championship, as are the Audis of McConville of Jones, and Newman’s ex-works Peugeot, which arrived in Australia from Britain in March. A feature of the opening round of the championship is a compulsory pit-stop in the second of the two races on Sunday over 35-laps.
All cars are required to change two wheels during the pit-stops, which were introduced to the championship this year. In pit-stop practice at Calder Park Audi have recorded the fastest times, replacing two wheels consistently in 13-secs, with McLean’ team averaging 15-secs, and Volvo 17-secs.
JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing Australia S40):
"We have plenty of speed over one-lap, but tyre wear is important. Our front-wheel-drive car uses its tyres more than the (four-wheel-drive) Audis, and the (rear-wheel-drive) BMW. We’re hoping fo cool weather which suits our tyres. The pit-stops make things unpredictable - it’s something new for everyone"
CAMERON McLEAN (Greenfield Mowers Racing BMW 320):
"We had an engine failure yesterday, and we put a new one in today. The new engine transformed the car. It seems more powerful than the engine we ran at the grand prix last month. We are goin g to take a bit of a gamble and go with a softer-compound tyre, but we think they will go the distance."
CAMERON McCONVILLE (Audi Sport Australia A4): "We’re not the quickest on the track at the moment, but we’re not far off the others. In any case it looks like we can make up time with the pit-stops. Our team has a lot of experience in pit-stops and that could make a big difference on Sunday."
TONY NEWMAN (Starion Motorsports Peugeot 406):
"We played around with the gearing and toward the end of the day we found some more speed. This car is between seven to 10-kilometres-an-hour quicker in every part of the track compared to the car (Peugeot 405) I raced here last year."
PRACTICE TIMES (Friday)
POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Dealer Team S40 58.65-secs 2. Cameron McLean (Qld) Greenfield Mowers BMW 320 58.97 3. Cameron McConville (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 quattro 59.23 4. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 quattro 59.31 5. Tony Newman (NZ) Starion Enterprises Peugeot 406 61.13 6. Ron Searle (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 61.20 7. Peter Hills (NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 61.69 8. Bob Tweedie (NSW) IBC Vauxhall Cavalier 62.80 9. Anthony Robson (NSW) Grid Motorsport BMW 318 62.82 10. David Auger Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 62.89