BRIAN BOYD DISCUSSES THE WD40 PHILLIP ISLAND 500
- Phillip Island, Victoria.
GRM Delivers First Supercars Podium of 2017 Season
The WD 40 Phillip Island Event continues to be a season favourite of the Garry Rogers Motorsport team. Garth Tander delivered the Wilson Security Racing GRM team its first podium of the 2017 Supercars season in an action-packed race on Saturday, says PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd.
Both GRM Drivers in the Drivers Championship Top 10 - Brian Boyd
"On Sunday, the GRM team backed up the previous day's success with both drivers finishing in the top seven in Race 2," PAYCE Managing Director Brian Boyd said.
"The latest results put both drivers in the top 10 in the Drivers Championship and the GRM team in 4th place in the Teams Championship for 2017."
Brian Boyd said the three PAYCE Super2 drivers continue to impress, with both Richard Muscat and Macauley Jones finishing in the top 10 in all four races and newest team member, Mason putting in some strong performances over the weekend.
V8 Supercars Wrap-Up with Brian Boyd
The two practice sessions on Friday saw the GRM team focus on trialling different setups as the development of the two cars continues.
Brian Boyd said this was not unexpected, as this was the first appearance of the GRM Commodores at the circuit and the team had no previous race data to work from.
"Unfortunately, what worked well for the Volvos over three years does not translate for the Commodores," Mr. Boyd said.
James and Garth Settle Quickly in the 2017 Machinery - Brian Boyd
James and Garth reported being settled in their cars as the team strived for more speed through setup changes and data reference.
James had a great start in session one and was quickly into the top seven, but as the session progressed he was pushed further down the order as other teams were able to balance their cars for the demanding Phillip Island track.
At the completion of the two practice sessions, the #33 and #34 Commodores were slotted towards the rear of the field. While each driver pushed hard in the sessions, neither were able to improve in qualifying despite significant setup changes to the cars overnight.
"James was 16th on the grid for race 1 and Garth two rows back in 20th. Congratulations to Scotty McLaughlin for his pole position," Brian Boyd said.
New Dunlop Tyres for 2017 can be Vulnerable - Brian Boyd.
The new Dunlop tyres showed vulnerability in the practice sessions as the drivers pushed past the design parameters for this latest specification.
To achieve the ultimate performance at Phillip Island, many teams chose to apply maximised negative camber with lower tyre pressures. Always a risk, the setups were to prove too much for the tyres, resulting in a series of blowouts that continued across the race weekend.
"Teams that opted for a more conservative approach reaped the rewards with good results," Brian Boyd said.
A Race of Attrition - Brian Boyd
Race 1 on Saturday was calamitous for a good many teams as tyre degradation became unpredictable and the race developed into one of attrition.
Brian Boyd said James was one of many drivers affected by tyre failure, fortunately with no major incident apart from a damaged panel.
"Garry told Garth he only had to pass one car every six laps from his 20th grid spot to give him a top 10 finish – no pressure!"
Garth's chances were further hindered through a collision with Holdsworth as he re-entered the track. With other cars also involved in contacts, Garth was holding steady in13th spot by the end of lap 1.
James had advanced even better to be in 10th. On the 9th lap, James blew a tyre but managed to bring the car back to the pits for repairs.
Garth continued to race his way through the field to 8th before a Safety Car was marshalled to clear the track of tyre and panel debris from prior shunts. GRM engineers decided to call Garth in and top up his tank with 34 laps remaining to take him home with no more stops.
Prospect of a Win for Garth Through Strategy- Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd said that through good pit stop strategies, Garth found himself at the front of the field on lap 41 and with a real prospect of a win at Phillip Island.
"Unfortunately, a Safety Car intervention soon closed the field up and that gave the faster cars who were now on fresh tyres the opportunity to get back in the game," Mr. Boyd said.
Garth drove an inspired race and managed to push the #33 Commodore across the line in third place behind Coulthard and Whincup to log the team's first Supercars' podium of the 2017 race year. James recovered well from his tyre failure and battled on to come home in 14th place.
"Congratulations too to Scott McLaughlin for setting a new lap record in the course of the racing following up on his top qualifier result," Brian Boyd said.
A New Direction with Setup Tuning - Brian Boyd
The qualifier on Sunday for the second 250 km race was unfortunately a disappointment for the team. Despite taking a new direction with setup tuning and with Garth 20th on the grid and James 23rd they both had their work cut out in the race ahead.
Tyre Balance Again Plays a Defining Role in Race 2 - Brian Boyd
Race 2 saw tyre degradation come into play once again and although not as many blowouts occurred compared to Saturday, tyre balance still played a defining role as the race progressed.
Garth made a perfect flying start and gained places to be in 8th position by turn 4, but was then forced off the track and had to re-join the field at the back.
James in the #34 Commodore was equally quick to take advantage and soon found himself in the top 10 and moving forward.
Garth meanwhile took up the challenge and advanced through the field. By lap 33 Garth was well into the top 10. With less than 20 laps to complete both drivers found great form and balance for the race home.
James came close to a podium finish in 4th place, while Garth was not far in arrears, bringing home the #33 Commodore in 7th position, earning him his second top 10 placing for the weekend. Scott McLaughlin once again broke the lap record he set on Saturday.
A Fantastic Result for the GRM Team – Brian Boyd.
Brian Boyd said the GRM team and fans were over the moon with the fantastic result which came as a fitting reward for all the hard work put in by the team after Tasmania, as well as some well-thought through pit strategies by the team's engineers.
"The GRM team now sits in 4th place in the Teams Championship due to its consistency," Mr. Boyd said.
"Great to see lots of smiles in the GRM pits and a boost in confidence for the boys and girls as the Supercar teams now head west for the next round, the Perth SuperSprint, over 5-7 May," finished Brian Boyd.
|Garth Tander||444 points|
|James Moffat||366 points|
Go Team PAYCE!