Mark (Frosty) Winterbottom was fastest in yesterday’s first official Australian V8 Supercar test of 2009, at Victoria’s Winton circuit
Driving Ford Performance Racing’s (FPR) new FG Falcon, he was clocked unofficially at 1m 23.74s with teammate Steven Richards next, on 1m 23.88s, during a period when the official timing gear had broken down.
Winterbottom’s time was almost four-tenths of a second quicker than his official time, which also had him fastest.
FPR was the only Ford team at the Victorian test day, running alongside the Holden Commodores of Will Davison, Garth Tander, Cameron McConville, Paul Dumbrell, Michael Caruso, and Todd and Rick Kelly. Queensland-based teams test this Wednesday.
Commodore teams were running in the 1m 24.3s to 1m 24.7s bracket, with Holden Racing Team’s Will Davison fastest, according to unofficial figures released by FPR.
All teams ran the new-for-2009 E85 fuel, which replaces premium unleaded. The first V8 Supercar Championship Series race will be the Clipsal 500 from March 19 – 22.
Winterbottom says the biggest change in the FG is “probably that (it) uses its tyres better than the BF. The times I banged out in the last session on old tyres were pretty good.
“When you’re developing a new car you’re just trying to make the last one better. For us we had a quick car on new tyres last year but on a longer run it was not so good.
“I think we’ve made that a lot better by improving little things, which will be good especially with the new format of racing this year.”
Richards said his Castrol team spent a lot of the test working on the oil system and other components: “not as much tuning as Frosty did with his car but I’m very pleased. We’ve had a good positive outcome.
“We’re not going any faster than we were in the BF but it does feel a bit different. The car turns in nicely and comes out of the corner with good linear throttle. It’s a good package to start out with.
“With the ethanol, the only difference I could notice was we weren’t reaching the rev-limiter at the same spots as last year,” Richards said. “That could be caused by something else, but if it is the fuel, it would be quite a significant change.”