2018 Adelaide 500 Preview With Brian Boyd - Team PAYCE on track for the Adelaide season opener
- PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.
PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said that after months of intense, non-stop activity in the workshops and recent test days now behind them, Team PAYCE members and their teams are no doubt pumped to finally be heading to Adelaide for the opening rounds of the 2018 season of Supercars, Super2, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and Touring Car Masters categories.
"Adelaide is an exciting and challenging track and this year's meeting will have everyone's attention with so many new cars and driver combinations making their debut," Brian Boyd said.
"The 3.2 kilometre Adelaide Parklands circuit offers little room for error and few opportunities to relax. The recent re-surfacing of turn 8 will offer more grip and result in higher speeds through that section, so from Thursday when the first practice sessions get underway, the action promises to be full on," continued Mr. Boyd.
Supercars: Hard Work and Long Hours - The Two New Wilson Security GRM Cars for 2018 are Fantastic – Brian Boyd
Brian said the Adelaide 500 is traditionally the first round for the season and after a thrilling Supercars finale last year in Newcastle, it will be interesting to see who have well-sorted cars and who are still in development mode.
"As was the case last year, there are new cars, new liveries, new driver/team combinations and new rules to keep everyone guessing as the 16 round sprint and endurance season gets underway," Mr. Boyd offered.
"Last season GRM was at a disadvantage with a change of brand, however this year Garry, Barry and the team are level-pegging with the other Commodore teams at least, with the new V8 powered ZB Commodore making its debut in all Commodore teams."
Brian said a massive amount of hard work and long hours have gone into building the two new Wilson Security GRM cars and both cars look fantastic and ready to race after a recent short run at Winton then a day of testing at Sydney Motorsport Park.
"The red, black and white liveries of the two GRM cars are a change away from the predominantly blue livery of recent years and drew lots of favourable comments when unveiled," enthused Brian Boyd.
"The test days were the first opportunity to iron out any bugs and the engineers were able to glean some important data for the start of the season. The drivers reported no significant change to the feel to last year's cars, except they were a bit more stable in the rear under brakes.
"The times at Sydney Motorsport Park had GRM mid-field, but the team was concentrating more on trialling settings rather than chasing records, I would expect.
GRM Driver Line Up for 2018 Balances Experience with Exuberance - Brian Boyd
"Driverwise, Garth Tander starts his second year back with GRM in the #33 Commodore, while young James Golding is promoted to a full-time Supercars drive in the #34 Commodore after a couple of wildcard starts and the three enduro co-drives last year," offered Brian Boyd.
"Garth is no stranger to Adelaide, having competed in all rounds at the circuit - last year he qualified the #33 car for the second Top Ten Shootout and gained two positions in the one-lap dash to start eighth on the grid and finish 11th – up one spot from race one," Boyd said.
26 Car Field Gets Underway on Friday – Brian Boyd
Supercars' action for the 26 car field gets underway on Friday with two 40 minute practice sessions in the morning and qualifying in the afternoon for Saturday's Top Ten Shootout to finalise grid positions for race one.
Saturday morning is the last chance for the cars to sort out their settings in the early practice session before the top ten qualifiers battle it out for the top grid positions. The day wraps up later in the day with a 78 lapper to get the season racing underway.
Sunday's race is preceded by qualifying, another Top Ten Shootout and then the second 78 lapper. By race end, there should be a clearer indication how the early part of the season is likely to pan out.
Super2 Shaping Up to be Super-Competitive in 2018 - Brian Boyd
Brian said the Super2 category is shaping up to be super-competitive again this year, with many of last year's Supercars, especially Commodores, picked up by the teams.
"In all there will be 16 Commodores in the 23 car field contesting the seven rounds of the championship," Boyd said.
PAYCE is Supporting Three Super2 Cars for 2018 - Brian Boyd
"Once again this year, PAYCE is supporting three Super2 cars – the two GRM VF Commodores to be driven by Mason Barbera (#99) and Chris Pither (#44), along with Macauley Jones from the Brad Jones Racing stable in the #14 PAYCE VF Commodore.
"All three drivers are capable of running well inside the top ten, and with three of last year's top contenders now switched to Supercars, the championship is wide open," Brian Boyd believes.
"Most Super2 teams have tested this year and GRM and BJR teams were very pleased with their cars' performances at Winton, both teams reporting no problems."
Brian said this will be the fourth year that Macauley has contested the series, while for Mason it will be his second consecutive year.
"Chris is also no stranger to the series, having competed in 2013 and 2015 – the latter year in a Volvo for GRM," Brian Boyd said.
"At last year's visit to the Adelaide track, both Macauley and Mason had strong results, with Macauley posting three 4th place finishes over the weekend, which contributed to his seventh placing in the championship by year end."
Super2 Field on Track Mid- Morning on Thursday – Brian Boyd
The Super2 field take to the Adelaide track mid- morning on Thursday for a 35 minute session with a further 35 minute practice session in the afternoon. They return on Friday for a 20 minute qualifying session for race one over 19 laps, which wraps up the on-track action in the afternoon.
Race two and race three over 19 laps each will be held on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia: Reigning Pro Champion David Wall Sports #1 911 GT3 Cup Porsche – Brian Boyd
Brian said David Wall will arrive in Adelaide as the reigning Pro champion of the 2017 series and looking forward to an equally successful year driving the latest version of the 911 GT3 Cup Porsche sporting the coveted #1.
"At last year's Adelaide meeting, David's weekend could not have started better. He was fastest in practice and finished the weekend with three podiums – a win and two seconds which got him off to a great season in equal first place," Brian Boyd recalled.
"Following a very successful return to the series in 2016, David went from strength to strength, finishing third in the 2016 championship then topping the points ladder in 2017 to take out the championship in the final race of the year.
James Moffat Returns to Carrera Cup Championship – Brian Boyd
"This year he is joined by fellow Wall Racing teammate, James Moffat, who returns to the series, after a long absence racing in Super2 and Supercars, driving the #18 PAYCE/Wilson Security Porsche.
"James last raced in the series in 2008 when he finished third in the championship. He has had plenty of starts at Adelaide so is no stranger to the track."
Mr. Boyd said that with a field of 25 brand new generation cars contesting the Pro and Pro Am categories and a mix of seasoned, new and young drivers, the series will be hotly contested over the eight rounds, including extra endurance distance races added to the calendar for the Endurance Cup championship.
"All teams have been working hard since the cars arrived later than expected in Australia due to a shipping delay.
"There has been a minimum of time to set the cars up, but most teams have squeezed in a test day or two to familiarise themselves with the upgraded model and reports from Wall Racing are very positive," Brian Boyd said.
Porsche Carrera Cup Drivers Hit the Track on Thursday – Brian Boyd
Track action gets underway on Thursday with two 20 minute practice sessions. Then the field is first on track on Friday morning for a 20 minute qualifying session, followed a couple of hours later by race one over 15 laps.
Race two and race three on Saturday and Sunday respectively, with the cumulative points from the three races deciding the final placings for the first round of the championship.
Touring Car Masters: Team PAYCE driver, John Bowe Hopes for a Repeat of the Opening Round in Adelaide Last Year - Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said this year's competition promises to be the best ever, with several new names joining the field to take on reigning ProMasters champion, Steven Johnson and runner-up, Team PAYCE driver, John Bowe.
"JB will be hoping for a repeat of the opening round in Adelaide last year when he scooped the pool with fastest qualifier, winner of both point scoring rounds and new race lap record holder to his credit," Mr. Boyd said.
"It is likely JB's strongest competition in Adelaide will again be Steven Johnson who suffered some reliability problems at the meeting last year, but through 2017 the team was able to sort out most issues with JB's former Mustang to pip JB for the championship in the last round."
Brian opines you can expect last year's consistent front runners, Ryan Hansford, Jason Gomersall and Adam Bressington to also be up the pointy end of the field in 2018.
"New contenders include Ben Dunn in the ex-Tony Hunter Chevrolet Monza, Jim Pollicina in the ex-Adam Garwood Holden Torana A9X and Cameron Wilson in a 1970 Ford Mustang," Boyd noted.
"It's good to see that some of the series most competitive cars have not been lost to the category after changing hands."
TCM On-Track Action gets Underway on Thursday - Brian Boyd
The action on track gets underway early on the first day of the meeting for the TCM field, with practice and qualifying on Thursday and race one on Friday.
Race two is on Saturday and race three on Sunday with grid positions determined by finishing positions in the previous race.