It was first blood to Ford Performance Racing at the V8 Supercars official pre-season test day as Tradingpost FPR driver Will Davison topped the timesheets with the fastest ever lap recorded by a touring car at the Sandown Raceway circuit.
Davison's time of 1:09.3230s beat the previous record set by a V8 Supercar by more than three-tenths of a second.
“It was good to dust the cobwebs off and finish the day on such a good note,” said Davison. “Rain meant we were hampered early but we got through most things.
As it was a test day we had to just focus on what we were doing as everyone was doing different things. I was obviously very happy with the car no matter what tyres we were on and I had a crack at the end and set a great lap time which was encouraging.
It is always nice to finish the first day of the year in P1 and while we thought we would be close to the fastest it is nice to know that we actually are. We can carry that knowledge and confidence into Clipsal.”
This was the only official pre-season test before the opening round of the V8 Supercar championship in Adelaide in three weeks' time. Undeterred by the rain showers which marred some of the teams' early running, over 10,000 fans turned up to witness Davison post his stunning lap time with 17 minutes of the session remaining.
Craig Lowndes (TeamVodafone) ended the day as the second fastest, ahead of Lee Holdsworth (IRWIN Racing), Todd Kelly (Jack Daniel's Racing) and Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autosports).
Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team), Tim Slade (Lucky 7 Racing), Mark Winterbottom (Orrcon Steel FPR) Steve Owen (V.I.P. Petfoods) and Michael Patrizi (Tekno Autosports) rounded out the top-ten.
Having collected valuable data across both sessions, initially running on a bank of used tyres before switching to greens, Lowndes was pleased with his jump from 20th to second.
“It was a really productive day here at Sandown,” said Lowndes. “It was nice to finally get back in the Commodore and do some laps.
“We went through a number of program changes we wanted to test and although nothing mechanically has changed with the Holden, it looks great out there on track.
“All in all I'm happy with what we achieved today.”
The test day was a good opportunity for newly-signed drivers to get acclimatised with their new cars. For Lee Holdsworth, having driven Holdens exclusively for the past six years, the priority had been to spend as much time as possible in the IRWIN Ford, so he was thrilled with the team’s progress.
“I am stoked to be honest, I didn't expect so much on the first day,” an ecstatic Holdsworth said.
“I didn't push over the limit; I wanted to build up to it slowly. The best thing about it was even when we were just cruising around we were well inside the top 10.
To put new tyres on and bank a top three time was really pleasing, it's such a great start to the season. I've come away feeling really confident in the car and have built a really good relationship with Brad my engineer and everyone else in the crew. I couldn't have asked for more really.
“There were positives signs for the entire team, we've still got another test before we go to Adelaide and there’s still plenty of time to improve the IRWIN Ford further and make adjustments to the car that suit me. There are a few areas where we can improve and if we can get on top of them, Clipsal is looking very promising.”
Of the series debutants, the still to be confirmed Taz Douglas (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport) was 22nd, David Wall (Wilson Security Racing) was 26th and Frenchman Alexandre PrÃ©mat (Fujitsu Racing GRM) was slowest of the full-time drivers but just two seconds off the fastest lap of the day.
Defending champion Jamie Whincup (TeamVodafone) finished the day 17th, having opted to run hard tyres for the duration.
“After a good break and a month’s worth of preparation, it was a great feeling to get back on the track today,” Whincup said.
“The Commodore was great, we had some really major changes we had to test which we mostly got through but the rain interrupted a few things we would have liked to have tested.
“The #1 car was handling really well today and I can't wait to get to Adelaide in a couple of weeks time.”
Several teams also used the testing sessions to give their endurance co-drivers some time behind the wheel, including Warren Luff and Paul Dumbrell (TeamVodafone), John McIntyre and Steve Richards (Ford Performance Racing), Nick Percat and Cameron McConville (Holden Racing Team), Owen Kelly (Jack Daniel's Racing), Paul Morris (V.I.P Petfoods), Scott McLaughlin (Tekno Autosports), Dean Canto (Rod Nash Racing), Greg Ritter (Garry Rogers Motorsport), Andrew Jones (Brad Jones Racing) and Shane Price (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport).
The teams now have three weeks to prepare for the championship season opener, the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on 1-4 March.
Test Day Resuts:
|1||Will Davison||Tradingpost FPR Falcon||1:09.3230|
|3||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing||1:09.5796|
|4||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||1:09.8234|
|5||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||1:09.8576|
|6||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||1:09.9376|
|7||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||1:09.9790|
|8||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||1:09.9871|
|9||Steve Owen||V.I.P. Petfoods||1:10.0505|
|10||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||1:10.0736|
|11||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing||1:10.1266|
|12||James Moffat||Team Norton DJR||1:10.1671|
|13||Shane Van Gisbergen||SP Tools Racing||1:10.1883|
|14||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing||1:10.1907|
|15||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||1:10.2028|
|16||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||1:10.2526|
|18||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||1:10.5264|
|19||Jason Bright||Team BOC||1:10.5491|
|20||Tony D'Alberto||Tony D'Alberto Racing||1:10.5927|
|21||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||1:10.5937|
|22||Taz Douglas||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||1:10.7369|
|23||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||1:10.8320|
|24||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds||1:10.8760|
|25||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing||1:10.9859|
|26||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing||1:11.0633|
|27||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||1:11.1664|
|28||Alexandre PrÃ©mat||Fujitsu Racing GRM||1:11.4650|