WOODSTOCK WINTON SUPERSPRINT - V8 SUPERCARS
- PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.
Team PAYCE Taste the Grip with Winton's New Surface
In a stark comparison to the last round of the V8 SuperCars at Barbagello Raceway where drivers were battling to get sufficient grip from the track, the newly re-surfaced Winton Raceway delivered new challenges.
The drivers and engineers all strived in the initial practice sessions to reconfigure settings that maximised the high grip levels on soft tyres and the updatedd corners.
Winton is a SuperSprint round, there was a 40 lap, 120 kilometre race on Saturday and a 67 lap, 200 kilometre race on Sunday.
The Touring Car Masters had three 12 lap races, split between a championship race on Saturday and a secondon Sunday, followed by a non-championship reverse grid race to complete the meeting on the Sunday afternoon.
Some Excellent Results for Team PAYCE – Brian Boyd
PAYCE Managing Director Brian Boyd said: "Overall, some excellent results for Team PAYCE over the weekend, with Scott McLaughlin well inside the top 10 in both Supercars qualifiers and a podium second place in race 1 and second on the leaderboard at day's end.
"These results were all the more welcome as the team reported they weren't entirely happy with the car's settings," Mr. Boyd said.
"Another fantastic performance from John Bowe in the Touring Car Masters, bouncing back from a broken gearbox early on to take both championship races, set a new lap record and continue on top of the leaderboard," continued Brian Boyd.
Three Team PAYCE drivers in David Wall, James Golding and Macauley Jones tested in the first of two special practice sessions to be held before the enduros. All three have since been confirmed as co-drivers in the upcoming Pirtek Enduro Cup series.
Three Team PAYCE Drivers Looking Forward to their First Race – Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said each impressed in adapting to the cars and conditions, driving smoothly and finishing with very respectable times.
"I'm sure they are looking forward to their first race at Sandown in mid-September."
Many of the teams settled for both worn and green tyres in initial practice session on Friday to establish timing benchmarks and for much of the one-hour session both Volvos were down in the second half of times while testing different settings.
Towards the end of the session with benchmarks and setups configured, Scott went out in the #33 Volvo on fresh soft tyres and set the 3rd fastest time, just 19/100ths behind the fastest time set by BJR's Tim Slade.
James Moffat was 21st on the final times. Times in the second practice session were generally down on the first session, due mainly to the amount of dirt strewn across the track as drivers either cut corners or returned to the track after offs, of which there were many. Scott made it into the top 10 on times in 5th, while James moved up to 20th position.
PAYCE's Managing Director, Brian Boyd said it was good to see some good pace from Scott and an excellent result to finish off a hard day with a top 5 time.
Drivers Faced Different Conditions with Re-Surfaced Track – Brian Boyd
"Teams were on a steep learning curve with the new surface, even those able to test earlier in the year at the track also faced different conditions," Brian Boyd said.
With teams having derived a closer understanding of the new track conditions, most approached the 15 minute practice session on Saturday morning in the spirit of a qualifying session, pushing hard to find the car and track limits.
Following the same ramp-up as yesterday, Scott in the #33 Volvo didn't appear in the top times until the end of the session when he went to the top of the times, albeit only for a short time as cars finished their final laps. Scott finished 4th on times while James was near the back in position 24.
Qualifying saw a similar scenario play out, with Scott delivering a strong final lap that took him from 8th to 4th on the grid for the 40 lap race later on the day.
In reflecting on how competitive the category is, James final position on times put him in 21st spot, less than 4/10ths of a second off Scott's time and 8/10ths of a second behind the pole-sitter – Close racing is guaranteed.
Scott Capped off the Qualifier with a Strong Fourth Best Time – Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said it was uncanny how Scott consistently manages to pull a great time out of the bag in the closing sessions, be it in practice or qualifying.
"He consolidated his good practice times the day before to stay in the top five and capped off the qualifier with a strong 4th best time to put himself in a good position on the second row of the grid for race1," Brian Boyd quoted.
Co-Drivers Practice sees Team PAYCE Squad Secure Drives – Brian Boyd
In a Pirtek Cup dedicated 30 minute practice session for endurance co-drivers on Saturday morning, three Team PAYCE drivers, David Wall and James Golding from Garry Rogers Motorsport and Macauley Jones from Brad Jones Racing climbed into their team's respective Supercars. All three drivers performed well with impressive runs that saw both David and Macauley finish 6th and 7th fastest, while James finished 16th.
Brian Boyd said it was a very impressive start following their recent appointments and they all drove sensibly and smoothly to bring home the cars in one piece while registering some quick times.
Team Owners have made Wise Choices – Brian Boyd
"Both Macauley and James led the times at different stages of the session and ultimately finished in front of several more experienced V8 co-drivers," Brian Boyd said.
"I think the respective team owners, Garry and Brad have made wise choices and all Team PAYCE members and friends wish the three boys well in their additional roles," continued Mr. Brian Boyd
As the lights went out to commence race 1, Scott made a super-fast move off the line from his second row position to slot immediately into 2nd place at turn 1 after a tense couple of moments with Winterbottom, who started in front Scotty on the grid.
As the race unwound, Scott held off numerous challenges from Winterbottom as cars started their compulsory pit cycle beyond the 5th lap. Scott headed to the pits on lap 11 and beyond all cars completing their stops by lap 29, he had again regained 2nd spot and was leading a train of cars.
Scott had the added pressure of covering his position from a still-determined Winterbottom. Scott maintained his hard-earned second position to the chequered flag which took him to the top of the 2016 championship leaderboard.
James was unfortunately less fortunate, being caught up in some frantic action back in the mid-field pack. The #34 Volvo sustained damage to the right front steering arm and rear bodywork, leaving James no choice but to return to the garage for repairs. He returned to the track five laps down and finished in 26th place.
We saw Scotty and his Crew at their Best – Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said Scott made the best of the start, ducking to the left then to the right like a boxer, to put himself in second spot despite the best efforts of Winterbottom to keep him out.
"We then saw Scotty and his crew at their best, executing a quick compulsory pit stop then Scott holding off a string of cars to the line to finish runner-up," Mr. Boyd said.
"Unfortunately, James didn't fare as well and as a result of being in the mix with some drivers desperate to improve their positions near the rear, he bent the steering on the #34 Volvo and got a hit from behind to add to his woes.
"With the closeness of times this year, it is a real challenge to move up through the field if you are down the back and the risk level increases greatly of having a coming-together compared to the frontrunners," continued Brian Boyd.
"It was a pity because James has had more than his fair share of bad luck to date, but on the plus side has also put in some competitive times when things are going right."
Scott started race 2 from row 3 on the grid after qualifying 6th fastest. James was down towards the back of the field in 23rd spot, though just 7/10ths of a second from the front runners. As the lights went out, Scott held onto his position and pushed hard to take 3rd spot as cars started the first pit cycle.
ames pitted early under a different strategy to Scott in an effort to avoid double stacking cars in the pits. As some teams were on a two stop strategy and others on three stops, it was only on lap 45 when all compulsory stops were completed that the true race positions were known.
Scott was to eventually finish in 11th and James in 19th, capping off two days of hard racing where the Volvos, while not the fastest on the track, still managed to deliver some well-earned performances.
Brian Boyd said Scott's finish just outside the top 10 would have disappointed him, but the fact he is holding down second on the leaderboard shows he is well on the pace and with a few tweaks to the #33 Volvo should return to his Phillip Island form and match the competition in future rounds.
"The racing at Winton was some of the best for the season with any one of the first six drivers on the grid in contention for a win," Mr. Boyd said.
"The fact there have now been nine different winners from 11 races demonstrates how close the field is and there are still some favourites yet to top the podium," continued Brian Boyd.
Fans are in for a Real Treat as the Championship Continues – Brian Boyd
"Congratulations go to Tim Slade and Brad Jones Racing team for a well-deserved set of wins over the weekend.
"It's still early days in the championship and I think fans are in for a real treat right through the rounds yet to come," enthused Brian Boyd.
The Darwin Triple Crown meeting at Hidden Valley hosts the next round on 17-19 June 2016
Go Team PAYCE!