Nick Percat says he is starting to learn what he wants from a Triple Eight Commodore, after so many years driving Walkinshaw hardware.
The South Australian, who famously won the Bathurst 1000 on his first attempt alongside Garth Tander back in 2011, made an off-season switch from a Walkinshaw Racing-run Holden Commodore to the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport squad, which uses Triple Eight-built Commodores.
So far, the new season has been "character building" for Percat, who currently sits 17th in the championship. However, there have been encouraging signs, such as Top 10 pace at the Clipsal 500 and the support races at the Australian Grand Prix.
Understanding the new car
According to Percat, his greatest challenge has been developing an understanding of how a Triple Eight-built car works - but that's something he is starting to get his head around.
"It's been character building," he told Motorsport.com. "It's been a tough start to the year with a new team, and a whole new crew.
The biggest thing is the way the rear of the car behaves. It's a much different feeling you get through the seat of your pants.
"On the car side, the car doesn't feel too bad. But I'm just still getting used to the Triple Eight style.
"The biggest thing is the way the rear of the car behaves. It's a much different feeling you get through the seat of your pants. So I need to get used to that feeling and understand what a good Triple Eight car feels like.
"I probably still haven't driven a really good Triple Eight car, so I'm still not 100 percent sure what I'm looking for. But the more laps I do, and with every session, it gets easier."
Percat confident that results will come
While it's been a challenging start to the new season, Percat says he is sure that, once he has properly gelled with the team and car, regular Top 10 results are on the cards.
"Yeah, there is definitely plenty of potential," he said. "That's the whole reason I wanted to come to LDM; I knew that once we get it all pushing in the right direction, results will follow.
"I think that for the last seven years every championship has been won by a Triple Eight chassis. And if you look at what Tekno do with their car, they are amazingly fast, and can even be quicker than the factory team.
"We've been punished at the start of the year with just getting the cars ready and getting everyone up to speed. And there have been some annoying accidents, like at the Grand Prix, which have set us back a little bit.
"But at Clipsal we had good pace on the Sunday and would have been a dark horse for a Top 10 had it not been for an electrical problem, at the Grand Prix we were in the 10 until the Sunday race, so there is potential there.
"Once it all starts going in that direction, [Tim] Blanchard and I will be able to explore the limits of the car a bit more and edge into the 10."
Car switch not an issue
Percat is already on to his second chassis of the season, following his crash at the Australian Grand Prix. His original chassis was too damaged to be fixed in time for Symmons Plains, forcing LDM to purchase another Triple Eight-built Commodore chassis from Tekno Autosports.
Percat debuted the 'new' car in Tasmania, and will stay in that car for the remainder of the season. When his original car is fixed it will be handed over to team-mate Tim Blanchard.
But Percat is adamant that the chassis switch hasn't slowed his development in terms of understanding the LDM/Triple Eight hardware.
"They're both Triple Eight chassis so everything bolted in exactly the same," he said.
"There was no difference in chassis feel. If it wasn't for the chassis number I wouldn't have known there was a difference. It behaved the same as the old one, and there was no difference in the way we set up the car."