Symmons Plains: Tasman Motorsport preview

Richards to debut new car at Symmons Plains Tasman Motorsport will wheel out a brand new Commodore VZ for this weekend's Ferodo Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains in Tasmania. Kiwi Jason Richards will debut the new machine, which has been ...

Richards to debut new car at Symmons Plains

Tasman Motorsport will wheel out a brand new Commodore VZ for this weekend's Ferodo Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains in Tasmania.

Kiwi Jason Richards will debut the new machine, which has been readied by the team over the course of the last few months but had its preparation accelerated in the weeks since the Gold Coast Indy event.

Despite the VZ Commodore only having three more rounds to go this year before the introduction of the all-new VE Commodore for 2007, the team is eager to debut the new car and test out some engineering modifications made to it over its existing cars.

The car will use the running gear from the #23 car driven by Andrew Jones and by Owen Kelly/Mark Noske in the endurance events. This chassis, the first built by Tasman Motorsport in 2004, will become the team's spare.

While Richards debuts the new car, his existing chassis will now become the #23 car for Andrew Jones to drive for the rest of the season.

The car isn't unfamiliar to Jones, who drove it alongside Richards in the Sandown and Bathurst endurance events.

Kiwi Richards hasn't enjoyed much success at Symmons Plains over the past two years, but is excited by the prospect of an all-new car for this weekend.

"The new car is the story of the week for us," Richards said.

"My car has had more hits than Elvis of late and, while it's repaired and fine for Andrew to now drive, there's some changes in the new chassis that we are wanting to try in preparation for the VE model next year.

"I'm keen to get my hands on it and see how it goes at Symmons Plains. It's going to be a challenging weekend, as it's a new car that hasn't been run before, but we'll soon find out what the new car can offer us.

"It's a big horsepower track and very, very hard on brakes. It really does punish them and Symmons Plains is second only to Indy in terms of the loads that we place on the braking systems.

"The challenge is to keep the brakes alive for the whole duration of the race. If your brak es are weak then you open yourself up to being vulnerable, particularly into the banked hairpin."

Jones is a Symmons Plains rookie, having parted company with his former team last year before the championship had visited Tasmania.

"This is the second round in a row where it's a track I've never raced before," Jones said.

"It doesn't faze me at all but being such a small track, the gap between first and last on the grid is pretty minimal so it's important to get it right.

"With changing cars, I think the thing is that I've been able to make it more 'my' car than I could at the endurance events where I shared it with Jason.

"At Sandown I was pretty comfortable but not so much at Bathurst. So we've changed the seating to suit me a little more and I won't quite be as cramped.

"Jason has had plenty of speed in the car so I'd like to think we can be better than where we've been over the course of the season so far."

Practice begins at Symmons Plains on Friday with qualifying, the Top 10 Shootout and race one on Saturday. Races two and three will be held on Sunday.

-credit: tm

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Andrew Jones , Jason Richards , Mark Noske , Owen Kelly