Team 18 enjoyed a highly productive test day at Winton Motor Raceway today, serving as a crucial stepping stone for the upcoming Supercars endurance races kicking off at the Sandown 500 on 15-17 September.
Originally slated for Tuesday, the test day had to be postponed by one day due to unfavourable weather conditions. However, the delay ultimately worked in the team’s favour as Wednesday greeted them with perfect clear skies, allowing for a comprehensive dress rehearsal ahead of the upcoming endurance events.
Team 18 brought their full endurance quartet to the test day, featuring Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom, alongside their co-drivers Warren Luff and Michael Caruso. Their presence was pivotal as they fine-tuned their race procedures and streamlined pit stop processes ahead of the season of endurance.
While the primary focus of the day was centred on preparing for the demanding endurance races and enhancing co-driver comfort, it also presented an opportunity to further refine the performance package of their cars in the lead-up to the business end of the season, with four events remaining in the championship fight.
All drivers were happy with the overall performance during the test day, as the team turns their attention towards the Sandown 500, with cars hitting the track for practice on Friday 15 September, ahead of the 161 lap, 500km enduro on Sunday 17 September.
Scott Pye, driver #20 BP Ultimate Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
“All in all, it was a really good day. We had Luffy behind the wheel for the majority of the day. I did the minority of the work today but really endurance test days rather, are all about getting him up to speed, making sure he’s comfortable as today was his first opportunity in anger behind the wheel.
“I think he enjoyed the new Gen 3 car. He did a fantastic job as always. It’s good to have luffy behind the wheel again and it gives me a lot of confidence going into the endurance events, knowing that he’s behind the wheel with me.
“We did a lot of driver changes which brought some new challenges. The roof’s a little bit lower than the old car, and ergonomically isn’t as easy as the old car was for driver changes, but I think they went really well.
“Other than that, car speed was good. It’s one of those days that are just about doing as many laps as possible, tick the one percenters and look forward to Sandown next week.”
Warren Luff, co-driver #20 BP Ultimate Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
“It was great to get plenty of laps in today, get to experience Gen 3 in all its anger.
“We got to have a drive at a ride day last month at Sydney, but it was really good to get a whole bunch of laps today and understand and get a better feel for what the Gen 3 car is all about.
“I did a lot of pit stops, did some brake changes, did some really good driver changes, so really pumped to be back with my mate Scott Pye. Obviously we’ve had some good success in the Enduros in the past, so looking forward to trying to replicate that, maybe even go one step better at Bathurst.
“I’m excited for Sandown in a couple of weeks and can’t wait to see everyone there.”
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 DEWALT Racing Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
“ I just had a great test day here at Winton.
“Caruso did a lot of laps, which was great. He’s actually very comfortable in the car, which is really good.
“The crew had a big job today. Test days are not laid back by any means, and the amount of work they do is crazy, so we went through lots and lots of changes, some progress forwards, some progress backwards, but I’m really proud of how everyone had a big crack today, as we threw a lot of things at it.
“I felt comfortable too, which was great, and we ticked off plenty of driver changes and all those formalities that enduro season brings.
“We now have a week to get ready to race at Sandown, which for me is a pretty happy hunting ground and I think we’ll be okay there, time will tell but Caruso and I are up for up to the fight.
Michael Caruso, co-driver #18 DEWALT Racing Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
“Awesome day here at Winton, only a handful of days until we start the first round of the endurance races, starting at Sandown next week.
“It was great to get some laps. We Did some driver changes, pit stops and some changes in the car as well. It’s a new car this year with the Gen 3, and the DEWALT Camaro was, was pretty good.
“I’m excited about next week, excited about the rest of the Endurance campaign, and can’t wait to get started.”