All attention has turned to Sandown after an action-packed S5000 test day at Phillip Island today.
Thirteen of the brand-new cars rolled out this morning for a full day session, with some of the cars having never seen a race track before.
The drivers, including experienced open wheel drivers like Formula 1 legend Rubens Barrichello and Indy 500 racer Matthew Brabham, were in awe of the new V8-powered cars. Brabham said that it “takes some balls” to drive them, while Barrichello, 47, claimed that the cars made him “feel like a young man” again.
The day was hampered by two incidents for Barton Mawer and Tom Alexander – both occurring early in the day’s running. Mawer made heavy contact with the wall opposite pit straight. The car was sent back to the Garry Rogers Motorsport workshop where it is being assessed ahead of Sandown. Alexander’s incident was light contact with the tyre barrier and he will be on the track this weekend.
No official lap times were recorded, although the pace setters were John Martin (AGI Sport) and Tim Macrow (MTEC Motorsport), both of whom reported lap times in the low 1 minute 24 second bracket.
GRM Supercars driver James Golding was also on hand at the test. He drove one of the spare cars at the test.
Teams will unload their cars at Sandown tomorrow with practice kicking off on Friday, September 20, followed by qualifying and racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets can be pre-purchased or bought at the gate, and for those unable to make it to Sandown for the historic first event, the races will be broadcast live, free and in HD on SBS, or via the Shannons Nationals live stream.
Driver, Team BRM S5000
“It’s been a nice day – learning the team, learning the track and the car,” said Barrichello.
“It’s wonderful to drive the car and this race track, and the car is so powerful so it’s nice to drive.
“I was getting better and better as the day went on. I felt like a young man driving it – it was nice to feel the wind on my face again driving it. I’ve been driving touring cars for seven years so you don’t get that feeling anymore.”
Driver, MTEC Motorsport S5000
“It was quite a productive day. There were so many brand-new cars, everything is brand new, so we spent most of the day shaking it down,” said Brabham.
“It’s definitely a wild car to drive and a couple of drivers got caught out today. You have to be careful. It’s got so much power at high speed and the power curve means that you need to be on your toes all of the time.
“I still need more seat time to figure it out. It’s really heavy car, not much downforce and heaps of power. It definitely takes some balls to drive it.”
Driver, Eggleston Motorsport
“I’m lucky I brought a spare pair of undies for the first session. The cars are an absolute beast!” said Brown.
“They are pretty frightening in the first couple of sessions. Once you get the tyres lament off them, they get better and you can build up from there. I didn’t have any spins, so we progressed through the day. They are definitely a different type of animal.
“If you’re a fan of motorsport, you have to get out to Sandown. These cars are amazing. They sound tough and they are tough. They are hard to drive and I think we’ll see some unpredictability through the weekend.”