Canberra: Paul Morris round five preview

V8 Supercar Championship - Round 5 Stegbar Canberra 400, ACT, June 7-9 Paul Morris to debut new VX Holden Commodore in Stegbar Canberra 400. Sirromet Wines-sponsored driver Paul Morris will debut a new 600-horsepower VX Holden Commodore in...

V8 Supercar Championship - Round 5
Stegbar Canberra 400, ACT, June 7-9

Paul Morris to debut new VX Holden Commodore in Stegbar Canberra 400.

Sirromet Wines-sponsored driver Paul Morris will debut a new 600-horsepower VX Holden Commodore in this month's fifth round of the V8 Supercar Championship, the Stegbar Canberra 400.

The Commodore is the product of more than 600-manhours of work and was designed and built at the Paul Morris Motorsports premises at the Holden Performance Driving Centre at Norwell on the Gold Coast.

Morris said features of the car included a new power steering system, stiffer rollcage, and updated front suspension, compared to the VX model he raced since the middle stages of the 2001 championship.

The 34-year-old said that after three days of testing in the new Commodore he had high expectations for the Canberra championship round from June 7-9, which comprises two 25-lap races and a 50-lap event on the 3.9km street circuit.

"This is our second 'in-house' built Commodore and it's been quicker in testing than the car we've been running so now we're keen to see how it goes in a race situation," said Morris.

"One area where we've struggled in the past is understeer, and we've reduced that and also allowed scope for more improvements."

"Canberra is one of those tracks where you need a precise set-up so you can put the car exactly where you need it to be, and I'm confident our new Holden will do that."

The new VX Commodore was built at Morris' team workshop utilising facilities which include a complete fabrication area with flat plate, machine shop with CNC lathe and mill, network computer system, engine room and dyno, offices for technical engineers to draw and design, and a race shop and car assembly area.

Team technical engineer, 33-year-old South African-born Paul Ceprnich, said the new Commodore had some crucial advancements over the team's first 'in-house' built VX model.

"The power steering system is more adjustable, and the stiffer rollcage is more sensitive to changes," said the former BMW works engineer.

"There is also better weight distribution in the car with a lower centre of gravity to improve the load transfer in cornering, and new front-suspension geometry and low-friction struts."

Morris, who won the Calder Park round of the 2001 championship, said he hoped the debut of his new Commodore would end his frustrating start to this year's series.

He struggled with mechanical problems in the championship opener, the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, and in the previous round at Hidden Valley in Darwin, and was eliminated from the rounds at Phillip Island in Victoria and Eastern Creek in Sydney in the now abandoned pre-qualifying session.

Morris' results in the Canberra round of the 2001 championship included seventh and 11th placings in two of the three races. He also qualified for the top 15 shoot-out.

"I had some wins and ran in the top 10 in quite a few races last season and this year's we'd hoped to build on that," said Morris.

"Unfortunately things haven't gone to plan so far, but we're hoping to start moving forward again with the new car."

CANBERRA -- FAST FACTS

CIRCUIT LENGTH:  3.9km

RACE FORMAT: 2 x 25-lap races, 1 x 50-lap race
RACE LAP RECORD: Marcus Ambrose (Ford Falcon) 1-min 44.180-secs
2001 ROUND WINNER: Steve Johnson (Ford Falcon)

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Skaife 1044, Murphy 577, Ambrose 508, Kelly 459, Bright 427, Lowndes 403, Tander 401, Richards 398, Johnson 273, Longhurst 257. Other: Morris 29

-www.paulmorris.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Paul Morris , Steve Johnson , Phillip Island