BALANCING ACT FOR TODD AND RICK KELLY AT WINTON Todd and Rick Kelly will face a balancing act this weekend after running on the new Dunlop option tyre for the first time at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria today. Both Jack Daniel's Racing ...
BALANCING ACT FOR TODD AND RICK KELLY AT WINTON
Todd and Rick Kelly will face a balancing act this weekend after running on the new Dunlop option tyre for the first time at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria today.
Both Jack Daniel's Racing drivers spent much of the day evaluating grip levels from both compounds of tyre on offer at the 3.0-kilometre circuit this weekend.
The first segment of practice saw Kelly Racing co-driver Nathan Pretty drive Rick Kelly's #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, completing seven laps to bed in tyres and start evaluating set-up.
James Moffat drove five slow laps in Todd Kelly's #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore, simply 'roading' wet tyres for the team in preparation for a potentially wet race later in the weekend.
In the second segment of practice, Todd and Rick Kelly were fifth and sixth fastest as they set their first serious lap times using the new soft tyre.
The third segment of practice saw Jack Daniel's Racing concentrate on evaluating and comparing speed between the soft and hard compound tyres, rather than setting outright fast laptimes.
The timesheets saw Todd Kelly in 14th place and Rick Kelly in 22nd position, but it was the information gained from the comparison that will benefit the team most over the weekend.
Teams will have to compromise set-ups in the race that they decide to run the softer, faster but less durable option tyre.
Both Todd and Rick have had some interesting things to say about the tyre, and the ramifications it will have on the team's strategy and race weekend.
When both segments of practice were combined, Garth Tander was left with the fastest time of the day ahead of Jamie Whincup and Lee Holdsworth.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Rick Kelly - #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"The pace of the Jack Daniel's Commodore has been quite good and probably better than the results of the first few events have shown," said Rick Kelly.
"Here at Winton we need a little bit of improvement. There has been a lot said about how this is a test track to most teams, but for us we have only done one day here and that was with brand new cars so it means nothing to us at the moment.
"We really need to do some test days here before we get a better handle on it. It's quite difficult little track.
"The pace we've got on the harder tyre isn't too bad. Our tyre bank isn't that good and the tyres we were on out there were a bit less than satisfactory so our pace today wasn't right up there.
"Our pace on the soft compound tyre is a little bit further away than we'd like and we're in the midfield on the timesheets. It's a lot different to what we're used to and it's a lot faster and for that reason I'm not really used to it so there is still a little bit of time left in me and also some time in the car.
"We ran a little bit differently than most teams today. We wanted to run the tyre in both sessions; once before we started changing the car and then once after, to make sure we didn't tune the car away from the soft tyre.
"It falls away quite quickly so I only did a couple of good laps on the soft tyre in the first part of practice and when we put them back on the car in the second part and already, the quick edge of the tyre had been taken off so we weren't able to set a really quick time.
"That's really going to be the deciding factor for the weekend, what race do you run it in and where in the race do you run it?
"Our thoughts are now a little bit different than what they were entering the weekend before we ran the tyre, so that's going to be the key so there are probably going to be some people who run the tyre on Saturday and some will run on Sunday.
"It's going to be a hard one to juggle and work out when we should put the soft tyres on our Jack Daniel's Commodore and then we've got to see where we sit compared to everyone else depending on what they're on.
"Each lap it falls away extremely quickly from lap one onwards. The important factor for everyone is the crossover point, in other words the point where the hard rubber is actually quicker that the soft tyre as it goes away.
"So at the moment that point is still between lap 15 and 20, and it's where that point is that will decide when you want to pit for it and what race you use it in."
Todd Kelly - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It was pretty good day and we learned a fair bit about the car today with the new stuff that we are running in the Jack Daniel's Commodore compared to Hamilton, where we were persevering with the same equipment and we've started to learn a bit more about it," said Todd Kelly.
"We chased front grip right through the session and then improved that quite a bit today and ended up having to chase rear grip at the end.
"So if we can balance the car out with what we've got it should be a good car.
"But the soft tyre was really good fun to drive on. You could attack really hard and on the very first lap I did on the soft tyre it was as fast as I went on it all day.
"When it's new you fire into the corner and you feel that you are definitely gong to spear off and then you get around the corner with all the grip.
"It's good fun to learn the limits of something like that as quickly as you can and if, for some reason, you go out there thinking that you're on the option tyre and you're actually on the old tyre you could end up in a fairly large crash! It's all really interesting so it should be a good weekend of racing.
"It's not ideal to run two different tyre compounds in a race so we need to think about that and strike something of a happy medium with the set-up. That's all part of the challenge.
"You can potentially lose a lot more time having the wrong set-up on the harder tyre than what you gain by having the right set-up on the soft tyre because the soft tyre generally masks what little issues you might have. But when there is no grip, that's when you will really start to struggle so we'll try and focus as much as we can on getting the car good on the old tyre."
Nathan Pretty -- Kelly Racing Endurance Driver:
"We just got out there and ran around to bed in a couple of sets of tyres for Rick," said Pretty.
"It really eliminates his wasted track time, which might give him a slight advantage in practice.
"It's good to get back in a car as it's been six months out of it for me.
"If you can get a few laps under your belt again it really helps you get back into the swing of things and although it wasn't much track time I could tell that the #15 Jack Daniel's Commodore is a really good car and nice to drive.
"Now it's over to Rick."