The first group test of 2018 has taken place at Victoria’s Winton Raceway, with AGI Sport, Team BRM and Formula 4 debutants Patrizicorse clocking crucial kilometres.
Winton will this year host a round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship for the first time, a double-round at the start of September. The venue has long been used as a test facility for teams.
Though the summer heat will be unlikely to feature in September, last week’s test gave drivers an experience of dealing with evolving circuit conditions.
Ryan Suhle, Burson Auto Parts Rookie of 2017, tested his fitness preparations during the off-season.
“It was definitely a scorcher out at Winton, which made it a real struggle to find not only pace but consistency with the very changing track conditions,” Suhle said.
“The heat is obviously a bit of a struggle physically and mentally, to maintain concentration is pretty difficult.
“But all the fitness work done in the background is what can give you the extra one per cent in those conditions, so all that effort pays off in the end.”
Many of the championship’s newcomers relished the crucial track time in the lead up to April’s opening round at Symmons Plains.
CAMS Foundation Rising Star Josh Smith is one of the drivers graduating from karts into circuit racing this year and is gradually adjusting to the different environment.
“I’m doing my best,” Smith said.
“It’s a lot different with a team, the big trucks and everything… it’s a lot more serious but it’s good.
“My plan is to learn everything that I can to improve my driving, learn about the data, and how to put that altogether on the track.”
Joining Josh Smith at Team BRM in 2018 is Thomas Smith, who explained what goes on during a Formula 4 test session.
“We do short runs, change tyres, change my driving a bit. Sometimes I might be going in a bit too hard, so I need to work on how quick I can get it through the corner,” Smith said.
“It was good. Just focusing on times and beating my PB. I get experience, the most out of myself and try to get as quick as I can.”
Patrizicorse’s Jackson Walls has enjoyed his recent experiences aboard Formula 4 machinery, as both driver and team get acquainted with the championship.
“Oh yeah it’s good fun. Definitely different from karts obviously – the braking, the mirrors, it’s all around just a bigger car,” Walls said.
“Not much else I can say except it’s bloody amazing and fun.”
The opening round of the 2018 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship will take place at Symmons Plains, Tasmania on 6–8 April.