Supercross to Supercars - Chad Reed tries his hand at V8's with TeamVodafone A palpable air of anticipation hung over the pitlane at Queensland Raceway this morning as leading Ford V8 Supercar outfit TeamVodafone prepared to strap three fresh...
Supercross to Supercars - Chad Reed tries his hand at V8's with TeamVodafone
A palpable air of anticipation hung over the pitlane at Queensland Raceway this morning as leading Ford V8 Supercar outfit TeamVodafone prepared to strap three fresh faces into the driver's seat.
Former World and AMA Supercross champion Chad Reed shared driving duties with Formula Ford frontrunners James Moffat and Tim Blanchard in an official Driver Evaluation Day, a fully-fledged introduction to the competitive ranks of the rapidly-expanding touring car category.
V8 Supercars has always been a passionate interest of Aussie born and bred Reed, and he jumped at the opportunity to join the leading Brisbane team, jetting back from his Florida home solely for today's test.
Many internationals have climbed boldly aboard a V8 Supercar, only to emerge red-faced -- the skill and strength required to lap competitively and consistently is hugely underestimated, a fact that has never escaped the personable 24-year-old.
"I knew it would be tough but to be honest I was disappointed with my first session, I really struggled to make any progress and found it tough to reach the accelerator and brakes at the same time," said Reed.
"The team was fantastic though, and made changes which improved my performance straight away. I felt much better and was able to concentrate on going that little bit quicker each lap, getting good gear changes and making apexes."
Reed completed a number of stints aboard the #888 Falcon, working on specific areas after briefings with the team. The technical nature of Queensland Raceway, as well as its infamous bumps, made the task an even greater one.
"I feel as though I got better and better each lap, its just a matter of being receptive and getting the basics right," he explained.
"The learning curve is incredible, there is so much going on and you need one hundred percent focus for one hundred percent of the time!"
He will climb back aboard the TeamVodafone Falcon later this afternoon, but was quick to praise the crew, who are in the midst of preparing for this weekend's round at Oran Park, for their patience and their insight.
"The opportunity has been fantastic, and to be able to spend a day with one of the best teams in the championship has just been amazing -- thanks to Roland and all involved for their assistance."
Team Principal Roland Dane was instrumental in organising Reed's participation and said that he had done a fantastic job so far.
"Chad has done everything we asked of him and is rapidly improving lap after lap, to his credit he is taking on board all of the advice the team are offering and his times are getting better and better," said Dane.
"The purpose of the evaluation is to introduce him to the nature of the car and what it requires of him, it was never about going out and chasing a time."
"He's got an incredible gift and for someone with absolutely no car racing experience he is doing a great job, we look forward to what he can do this afternoon as well."
Dane was also proud of the efforts of the Formula Ford teammates James Moffat and Tim Blanchard, who were adapting well to the distinct style.
"The growth and development of Australia's Formula Ford drivers is a passion of mine and I'm happy to have provided this opportunity to both James and Tim," he said.
"Both boys have handled the task very professionally, and like Chad, have been open to all of our suggestions. This quality alone will ensure they go a long way in this sport."
Moffat, son of touring car great Alan, was equally enthused with the opportunity and was looking forward to further time aboard the car this afternoon.
"This car is completely different to the open wheeler that Tim and I drive, it requires a vastly different style of driving in order to produce a clean lap," he explained.
"We are having a great time learning from the team, and are sucking in every bit of information possible in order to do that little bit better each time we get out there."
"I feel very priveliged to be a part of such a professional and top-notch outfit, thanks to everyone who has made this possible."
TeamVodafone endurance pairing Richard Lyons and Allan Simonsen are among the onlookers at Queensland Raceway today, and will head out this afternoon to complete a series of laps in preparation for the upcoming dual-driver events, Sandown and Bathurst, which begin in September.