Four CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship graduates have sampled Supercars machinery at test sessions held throughout this week at Winton Raceway.
2015 Champion Jordan Lloyd and runner-up Thomas Randle sampled a Nissan Motorsport Altima at Winton on Tuesday, with dual Australian Formula 4 round winner Harry Hayek and AGI Sport racer Jack Smith testing with Brad Jones Racing on Thursday.
2015 Champion Lloyd thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with a current specification Supercar, and was pleased with his performance adapting from an open-wheeler to a touring car.
“It was a good experience to be able to work with Todd [Kelly] and the team engineers,” Lloyd said.
“It’s a very different driving style than I’m used to from an open-wheeler, but I was very happy at the speed at which I was able to adapt; and the competitive lap times I was able to do compared to the more experienced tin top drivers that were also testing at Winton.
“Once again thanks heaps to Nissan Motorsport, Todd Kelly and Formula 4 for making the day happen.”
A photo posted by Thomas Randle (@thomasrandle49) on
The Nissan Supercar was the seventh different machine Randle has formally tested throughout 2016, with other appearances including British Formula 3, European Formula 3, Formula V8 3.5, Toyota Racing Series, LMP3 and a British Touring Car.
“Firstly I’d like to thank Nissan Motorsport, the Kelly brothers and the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship for the opportunity,” Randle said.
“It was very different to the cars that I have been used to driving in the UK and Europe, however I felt like I adapted to the car well in the short running that we had.
“To have matched Todd [Kelly]’s time from his morning stint on the same tyres was an added bonus for me, and maybe sometime down the track they may give me another chance to drive it!”
Harry Hayek was also thrilled with his first experience aboard a Supercar with Brad Jones Racing.
“Driving a Supercar was a bit different than my single-seater F4, it was just so much fun. The way it sounded especially, the crackle and pop it makes is great,” Hayek said.
“The handling is really good, the power it had pulling gears, the car was awesome. It has really good grunt and instantly it put a big smile on my face.”
Hayek also noted similarities between the performances of a Formula 4 and a Supercar under brakes.
“The braking seemed similar to an F4, just a little bit less pressure. It’s just something that takes time to get used to and find where the limit is,” Hayek said.
“I spoke with the engineers after and discussed steering, braking, throttle, driving lines; essentially going through all the usual data you speak about after a session.
“They gave me good feedback about my braking and said for someone of my experience, I was doing really well with it. They want me to brake a little deeper and take more speed into the corners.”
Hayek was joined by Jack Smith at Winton, who also sampled a BJR Holden Commodore Supercar.
After competing in the Bathurst round of the Dunlop Series aboard a Paul Morris Motorsport Ford Falcon earlier this year, the Brad Jones Racing test was Smith’s first taste of a Car of the Future specification Supercar.
“I got a really good first impression of the next-gen Supercar,” Smith said.
“In my second session I felt a lot more comfortable in the car and was just chipping away at it, trying to knock out consistent lap times. It’s similar to the car I drove at Bathurst, but this feels different with the independent rear end and a few other niceties about it.”
Smith enjoyed the Supercars test and put his year of Formula 4 experience of analysing data to good use when conversing with BJR’s engineers.
“Speaking to the engineers after each session we have been working away on one thing at a time, but they are happy with the consistency of my times,” Smith said.
“I’m here to learn and overall I’m having a ball, it’s been a great day.”
A photo posted by Will Brown (@_willbrown_98) on
To date, five Australian Formula 4 drivers have now sampled Supercars machinery, with 2016 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Champion Will Brown participating in a shakedown session earlier this year with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.