March 10, 2001 - NRC Racing have completed a hectic two day Formula Holden test session at Victoria's Phillip Island circuit. The first test for the Formula Holden team of the new season saw two new drivers take part. Confirmed 2001 season driver,...
March 10, 2001 - NRC Racing have completed a hectic two day Formula Holden test session at Victoria's Phillip Island circuit. The first test for the Formula Holden team of the new season saw two new drivers take part. Confirmed 2001 season driver, American Emerson Newton-John, was joined by Australian ex Formula Ford driver Stewart McColl for their first drives of the NRC Racing Reynard 95D Formula Holdens.
This test also saw the return of 2000 Holden Australian Drivers' Championship runner up, Singapore driver Christian Murchison , getting himself back into the Formula Holden racing mode after having completed several Formula 3000 tests in Europe during the off season.
The team was very pleased with Emerson Newton-John's efforts, who after some off circuit excursions early on, settled into his new drive at the ultra-fast Phillip Island circuit well. The 26 year old American rookie lapped in the low 1 minute 25 second bracket by the second day, a particularly impressive effort given the unknown performance characteristics of the new Yokohama Formula Holden control tyres and the hot ambient and track temperatures experienced throughout the test.
Newton-John was joined by Christian Murchison and 21 year old NSW driver Stewart McColl, who shared the second NRC Racing Reynard 95D during the two day test. McColl, who placed third in the 2000 Formula Ford Championship, was invited by the team for a second Formula Holden test after a 30 lap initiation with NRC Racing last October at Winton Raceway.
After waiting patiently for his turn to drive on the second day, McColl immediately posted impressive mid 1 minute 25 second times, progressively increasing his speed as the day progressed. The high G-forces at Phillip Island and the hot temperatures kept him in check, fatigue setting in by the end of a long day. The team was very happy with McColl's mature and reasoned approach to this first serious Formula Holden test.
Accolades on the second day went to Singapore driver Christian Murchison, fresh from a five month European Formula 3000 series of tests. Murchison's lap times were substantially under the existing lap record and surpassed the team's expectations given the excessive track temperatures.
There is no doubt that Murchison has gained major benefits in both his fitness and car control thanks to his recent Formula 3000 experiences - lapping quickly immediately with every test run. An off circuit excursion curtailed what was going to be a startling lap time towards the end of his stint.
NRC Racing has yet to confirm the team's second Formula Holden driver for season 200, starting at Phillip Island on March 25.