TeamVodafone wrap up comprehensive enduro test TeamVodafone endurance specialists Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have wrapped up an intensive on-track testing program in preparation for next week's L&H 500 at Phillip Island and are ...
TeamVodafone wrap up comprehensive enduro test
TeamVodafone endurance specialists Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have wrapped up an intensive on-track testing program in preparation for next week's L&H 500 at Phillip Island and are quietly confident of continuing their run of successful results.
The duo were joined earlier this week at Queensland Raceway by their European counterparts, Allan Simonsen and James Thompson, who benefited from another productive shakedown.As well as ensuring all componentry, parts and accessories were fully tested ahead of next weekend's event, the four teammates took the opportunity to try on their new enduro-spec racesuits, featuring Vodafone's rocket red where the suits were traditionally white.Carrying the event logo, the suits will be auctioned off online at www.teamvodafone.com immediately following the event to raise money for charities supported by the Vodafone Foundation.
Hopes of continued success are high within the Brisbane-based team, which has finished on the podium in the past eight consecutive endurance races.Lowndes and Whincup amassed the most points for the Phillip Island weekend last year after strong combined performances in the Saturday sprint races and a solid second place in Sunday's 500km race.On an individual level, Whincup matches the team's endurance podium record having finished on the podium at Sandown and Bathurst in 2005.
On 2009 form, the duo will be tough to beat at the 4.45km circuit. TeamVodafone have had at least one driver on the podium in 15 of the 16 races contested to date. Lowndes said the opportunity to hit the track at Queensland Raceway and focus solely on endurance setup and strategy had proved valuable.
"It was a productive day for our car, we made a lot of changes and learnt a lot," he said. "We worked on what the car reacted to and we clarified a couple of theories and setups that we have been playing with during race weekends.
"We also finalised seat position, steering and pedal assemblies and we are both very comfortable in the car.
"The race itself really will come down to strategy and weather but I am very confident that we can put a race winning package together," he added.
Whincup was also positive about the team's chances following the test."All in all it was a good day. Between us we did 150 laps and we got through a really big program of testing," said Whincup.
"What was most pleasing was that Craig and I had very similar feedback on the car which will make setup a lot easier.
"We worked through driver changes which are not as easy in this new model car. We both came out of it a bit battered and bruised," he said.
In addition to providing the team's full-time drivers with the chance to switch from sprint to enduro mode, the test also allowed international campaigners Simonsen and Thompson to settle into the task."We had a good rookie test day on Monday where we familiarised ourselves with the car, while yesterday's test day was about working through a specific program relevant to Phillip Island," said Simonsen.
"It has been a couple of years since I was last with the team but it didn't take long for everything to fall into place for me. James and I worked really well together and got through everything in terms of pitstop practice, driver change and starts.
"I was happy with my times - anytime you are doing 1 minute 11's on old tyres at Queensland Raceway you know you are doing well!"
Thompson's foray into V8 Supercars has seen him quickly adapt to the category's unique characteristics."I am very excited, it has been an enjoyable couple of days even though there is a lot to learn from my side," said Thompson. "It is a big leap of faith jumping into the unknown and to be honest it is a bit like starting your career over from scratch.
"I definitely feel more comfortable in the car and the more miles I get the better I will be. The best way to keep improving is to keep and open mind and take everything on board," he finished.
Car #88 engineer Mark Dutton was impressed with how quickly the two imports gelled and fit in to the TeamVodafone squad.
"We have done two good solid days of testing," said Dutton. "The track was a bit different yesterday and I was pleased with how well they adjusted to the changing condition."
Their times were good and it was clear they were driving a lot more consistently than on Monday. Both drivers are very keen and professional and are also a good match size wise."The event begins on Friday September 11 and runs through to Sunday September 13. Drivers will contest either Race A or Race B on Saturday before pairing up for the 500km Sunday race.