BTCC champion Sutton makes Supercars test debut

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton took part in a driver evaluation day for the Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars team at Winton Motor Raceway last week.

BTCC champion Sutton makes Supercars test debut
Ashley Sutton, Scott Pye
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
 Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
 Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
 Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
 Third place Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
 Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
 Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg and Colin Turkington, West Surrey Racing BMW 125i M Sport
 Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg

The 24-year-old was offered the drive by the WAU team, heading down under to sample one of the 650-horsepower Holden ZB Commodore machines regularly raced by James Courtney and Scott Pye.

It also meant Sutton was reunited with now WAU engineer Carl Faux, the former technical director at Team BMR , which ran Sutton to the UK title in 2017, and the designer of the BTCC Subaru Levorg machines.

“It was a chance for me to try the car and see what Supercars is all about,” said Sutton, who conducted the mileage on Wednesday last week.

“The car was a total monster – a real eye-opener. Even when I was leaving the pits, it felt bloody fast, half throttle and all I seemed to do is keep on pulling another gear…”

Sutton took part in a full day’s running as he got to grips with the car on the rural Victorian circuit, which acts as the test track for most of the Melbourne-based teams.

“Supercars have locked rear differential, and that means they are very different from what I have driven before,” explained Sutton.

“It requires a slightly different approach in my footwork techniques as the shift in balance is more towards understeer, but dialling myself into this didn’t take too long and once I had found the sweet spot I love the way the car rotated.

“I think it took me about 10 laps to get the hang of it and then I was really able to get into the rhythm of it. They are such impressive cars and I couldn’t help but have a big grin on my face throughout my time behind the wheel.

“The Winton track was a great place to drive the car too – it had a bit of everything with slow and technical bits to really fast and flowing corners too, so I got to see all the abilities of the car.

"It was a little bit like Croft but, if anything, a tad narrower.”

Sutton said that he was given the full range of experiences during his time in the car.

“It was a really interesting experience with lots of new things thrown at me,” said Sutton.

“We used both the hard and soft tyre over the course of the day, and the difference in them is so much more extreme than anything I have experienced before.

"You really had to alter your approach with the two different types of rubber as there was a lap time delta of two seconds between the two compounds, but it was good to experience another of Dunlops products, because I am used to them in the BTCC.

“All in all, I learned a great deal from the experience and I am really grateful to the Walkinshaw Andretti United team for letting me loose in one of its wonderful cars.

"The entire crew was very welcoming and the whole set-up takes professionalism to another level.”

Sutton said that he would keep in touch with the team and was planning a return visit later in the season.

“I really enjoyed being around the team and I am planning to go over and watch one of the rounds,” he said. “I will go at the end of the season – maybe the final round at Newcastle at the end of November.

“I would love to get an insight into how the race weekends operate and how the team works when it is at a race meeting. It is a championship I will certainly be keeping a very close eye on in the future.”

The driver evaluation rules allow a driver who has competed in less than five main series races in the last season to test for a team without burning a day, meaning the Sutton test won't count towards WAU's three-day allocation.

It does mean that Sutton is now ineligible for the Supercars endurance races this year.

shares
comments
Nissan confirms Supercars enduro line-up

Previous article

Nissan confirms Supercars enduro line-up

Next article

Penske threatens Holden switch – reports

Penske threatens Holden switch – reports
Load comments
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Prime

Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a controversial figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his drama-filled boots as the category enters a new era...

Supercars
Nov 3, 2020
Why 2020 isn't McLaughlin's greatest title Prime

Why 2020 isn't McLaughlin's greatest title

Scott McLaughlin was quick to describe his third Supercars title as his best yet. But even though it didn't match the dramatic backstory of his 2018 triumph, there's a good reason for him wanting to control the narrative this time around.

Supercars
Oct 2, 2020