David Reynolds says his Erebus squad is working hard to perform better on what are traditionally its weaker circuits, as he pieces together his Supercars title campaign.
Reynolds and the compact Erebus outfit have made a brilliant start to the season with the new ZB Commodore, often proving to be a match with factory Holden team Triple Eight.
Thanks to a well-deserved second on Sunday at Phillip Island, Reynolds sits second in the title race, ahead of all three Triple Eight drivers and just 60 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin.
According to Reynolds that result was somewhat of a breakthrough, given it came on a circuit where he and Erebus generally struggle to match the pace of the front-runners.
It was the second time this year Reynolds has been surprised by his own speed, having admitted after finishing second on Sunday at the Adelaide 500 that he wasn't expecting to be competitive.
With two bogey circuits down, Reynolds reckons there are now two more to go – Barbagallo Raceway in Perth, where the series heads this weekend, and Queensland Raceway in Ipswich.
“Every year we probably still circle the same tracks,” Reynolds explained.
“I don’t dread going to Phillip Island, I just worry about performance. Last year we finished third, but that was kind of a weird weekend. From sheer pace, probably not [fast enough], to be honest.
“Phillip Island, Perth and Queensland Raceway are probably... if we had to circle a weak spot from the last couple of years, that’d be it.
“Queensland Raceway is mentally hard to turn up to. It’s hard to get your car set up for, that’s always the drama. The Queensland teams always pump you.
“But we’re just trying to put a bit more focus in there and come up with some better ideas and then use our rookie days to try them, and up the front we go."
This is the second time in Reynolds' career that he's been in genuine title contention, the first having been in 2015 when he was part of the dominant Prodrive set-up.
While he went on to finish third, it was a case of playing catch-up all year. Reynolds was just 13th in the points leaving Adelaide, and didn't feature in the top five until the Townsville round, 17 races into the season. He ultimately fell 336 points shy of then teammate Mark Winterbottom, with Craig Lowndes splitting the two Ford drivers.
The damaging effect of the slow start to the season wasn't lost on Reynolds, who says this time around he's been focussed on taking his title chances seriously from Day 1.
"I’m always thinking about ," said Reynolds.
"I didn’t give it a serious enough go at the start and that’s why I’m different this year. I’m always thinking about that, but how you do that is to win races and so far we’ve only won one. But we’re still going alright."