Super Cheap Auto Ford driver Steve Ellery says the southern teams could be in for a shock when they greet the heat in Queensland, but says he and Geoff Brabham are a fit combination who are ready to race. Ellery says the single biggest factor...
Super Cheap Auto Ford driver Steve Ellery says the southern teams could be in for a shock when they greet the heat in Queensland, but says he and Geoff Brabham are a fit combination who are ready to race.
Ellery says the single biggest factor for both drivers in any team is comfort and a good seating position, but says other factors could come into play for deciding the victor in one of the most important races in the championship.
"We've seen what heat can do to drivers. This weekend will be warm. We tested last week and it was 36C at the track and a damn sight hotter in the car. All the drivers are pretty fit but making sure you do the right things in the heat, like rehydrating, is really important.
"Level of fitness for a hot hour and quarter stint goes without saying. These days most of the drivers have an outstanding level of fitness and it's become less about getting an advantage if you're fit, but more about losing it if you're not," Ellery said.
The Queenslander says there heat, hydration, good insulation and of course the logistics of driver changes are the vital factors in this long hot race.
"If you look at the some of things that have gone on in the longer races this year, you start to see the areas we have to perfect to get an edge.
"Adelaide's the toughest of the year. One driver, two 250km stints, very tough. Because the race is so early in the year, you also have to make sure your endurance fitness is up to scratch at the start of the season. It's the same here.
"At the moment I'm swimming a kay (km) or so three times a week, following it with a riding session and backing that up with strength work at the gym and karate twice a week," Ellery explained.
"It's not a huge physical workload but it's enough to keep my strength and endurance in shape for when I need. It's been a long time since I've got out of the race car feeling tired."
While fitness is the least of Ellery's concerns, he has addressed the need for good insulation on the floor of the Super Cheap Auto Falcon, after being hindered by severe heat blisters on his heels in Adelaide.
"The other thing we saw in Adelaide is the importance of having good insulation on the floor. Now it's a permanent part of our car, but in Adelaide that's what caught me out. Blisters can be amazingly painful and good floor insulation with good driving gear is really important," Ellery said.
"Heat in the car is a big factor. As I've mentioned hydration is number one before and during the race but a lot of guys won't be using cool suits, because it's hard to unplug the suit quickly during driver changes.
"That brings me to one of the most important parts of this race and that's the partnership. Both drivers have to be comfortable and the changeovers have to be quick.
"Luckily Geoff and I are about the same height so there's no dramas there and we're both comfortable with the seating position. It might be a different story at Bathurst, where we'll look at putting some extra padding in the seat so neither of us suffer from the dreaded dead leg (numb leg from seat pressure)."
Ellery is supremely confident he and Geoff can do the job. He hasn't had the best of luck at the circuit but is confident the Super Cheap Auto Falcon has the speed and will be kind to the tyres a vital factor in success at this race.