Erebus Motorsport’s first visit to the streets of Surfers Paradise has shown plenty of promise throughout the four 40 minute Gold Coast 600 practice sessions held today, with all three E63 AMG’s approaching the top 10.
His team-mate, Maro Engel, on his very first visit to the tight confines of the Gold Coast, lapped at a similar pace to Johnson throughout the day, the pair working on some increased braking performance overnight and confident of a good race showing.
Sportscar ace, David Brabham who was drafted in for this event at the beginning of the week, had his maiden V8 Supercars Car of the Future adventure in first practice this morning.
He then used the two dedicated co-driver sessions in the #47 Heavy Haulage Australia Racing car to familiarize himself with the unique Erebus Motorsport cockpit and re-acquaint with the 2.96km Surfers Paradise circuit where he led last year. He admitted learning a new style of car on the Gold Coast track is a true challenge.
Tim Slade, regular driver of the #47 car, finished opening practice in 11th position after sitting in the top five early on in the session.
The team continued setting up for the race in the fourth session and Slade ended that 23rd.
The Lee Holdsworth/Craig Baird combination in the #4 IRWIN Racing E63 AMG continued their strong pace of late and will be looking at further improvements in qualifying.
Baird - who is also racing in a Carrera Cup support category this weekend - finished the second co-driver session in 10th placing. Earlier, Holdsworth took the IRWIN Racing car to 13th in practice one.
Overall, it was a trouble free run for the Erebus Motorsport team, with no technical or other dramas to speak of. The only damage sustained was the loss of a wing mirror when Slade was putting in a quick time in session number one!
Tomorrow, all three cars will be out for a quick fire 30 minute qualifying session at 10:30am local time, before a top 10 Shootout then the first 300km leg of the Gold Coast 600.
Erebus Motorsport and official timing partner, CITIZEN Watches Australia are giving fans the opportunity to win a CITIZEN Watch this weekend. Fans have to enter the time they believe will be the fastest by an Erebus Motorsport E63 AMG with the #CITIZENAus hashtag on Erebus’ Social Media channels by 8am AEDST Sunday morning.
Lee Holdsworth - #4 IRWIN Racing E63 AMG:
“We are just a small bit off in each area and it is hard to pinpoint where the time loss is coming from. We came home with a straight car though and we gained some good knowledge of what we need to do overnight ahead of qualifying and hopefully tomorrow morning we’ll have a good car underneath us.
“The aim tomorrow will be to get the IRWIN Racing #4 into the top 10 shootout, we’re not far off it now, I think with a few overnight changes we should be able to push towards that.”
Craig Baird - #4 IRWIN Racing E63 AMG:
“It takes a bit to get used to the V8 around here as you really have to use the curbs, whereas in the Cup Car, you can’t use them at all, which probably makes the transition between the two categories harder than Sandown or Bathurst.
“The IRWIN Racing car felt really good, we’ll now see what tomorrow brings!”
Maro Engel - #9 SP Tools Racing E63 AMG:
“Its a good fun track, I have really enjoyed it even if it only was two sessions! It’s great fun out there.
“We have a bit to do tonight to improve braking performance, but Steve showed plenty of pace, so we’re pretty happy with how things are right now.”
Steve Johnson - #9 SP Tools Racing E63 AMG: “The practice sessions were good, I was very happy with the car, there is a bit more to be done, but essentially the SP Tools Racing E63 AMG is a good car.
“I think overall, it has been a productive day for all three of the Erebus Motorsport cars.”
Tim Slade - #47 Heavy Haulage Australia Racing E63 AMG: “With four sessions, it was always going to be busy for the team. For us, it was about getting Brabs as many laps as possible, as he hasn’t driven a Car of the Future, fullstop. He got away to a good start today and once the race rolls around, he’ll be in good shape.
“I’m reasonably happy with the day’s progress, hopefully we’ll be on the money for qualifying.”
David Brabham - #47 Heavy Haulage Australia Racing E63 AMG: “It was a massive learning day for me, it is not an easy place to step into a brand new car and learn it, there is no room for error.
“We’ve been working up to it - slowly. I felt more and more comfortable each time I was out there and felt there was a quicker time if I just pieced it all together. There is more to find and I’m sure that once I get into the rhythm of the race, it will feel even better.”
Erebus Motorsport V8