Aston Martin factory driver Richie Stanaway will kick-start his Supercars journey at the Sandown 500 this year. He spoke to Andrew van Leeuwen after testing at Winton.
MOTORSPORT.COM: So, you’ve had your first proper full day in the Super Black Ford. How did it all go?
RICHIE STANAWAY: It was a good day. I spent a lot of time in the car and did a lot of laps. The seating position is good, so I felt nice and comfortable in the car. Chris [Pither, Super Black’s regular driver] and I are roughly the same size, so there are no compromises there.
We did some pitstop practice, some practice starts, and I’m really starting to get into the groove. The car was great to drive, I really enjoyed it.
How are you going pace-wise compared to Chris?
I think we’re fairly similar pace-wise. You can never really compare, because of different tyre life and things like that. But I think if you take all the variables into consideration, we were probably similar.
For me, I’m not in the situation where I need to get the most out of a new tyre. My job is more focussing on long runs, being consistent, and getting a feel for the tyre degradation. In terms of ultimate pace, I never ran a new set of tyres, so I don’t know where I would be with that. But in terms of our relative tyre life, we were there or thereabouts.
The hardest thing is trying to get the last little bit out of the car. You look at the tiny little details in the data, and it adds up over the lap. It’s very easy to be missing a few tenths, and that can be the difference between being in the Top 10 or out the back door.
But the important thing is that I felt really good in the car today.
Did it feel much different to the co-driver session you did at Winton during the race meeting there back in May? Were you significantly more comfortable?
Yeah, massively. Particularly getting to the end of the long run, and being able to have a good long run in the car as opposed to just trying to take a big bite out of it in a short space of time.
I feel a lot more confident after today than I did after the co-driver session back in May.
I still don’t quite know what to expect at Sandown, because Winton is obviously a much different track surface to… well, anywhere we’ll race for the enduros. I don’t know how we’ll stack up against the other co-drivers, and I’m trying not to worry about it too much right now. I’m just worrying about myself, and getting up to speed as quickly as possible.
What will you do between now and the Sandown 500? Will you head back to Europe?
No, I don’t have any events in Europe for the rest of the year because the last World Endurance Championship round in Europe was at the Nurburgring. So I’ll base myself out of New Zealand for the rest of the year, because the rest of the races are flyways that are as far away from New Zealand as they are from Europe.
Being back home makes it a lot easier for the Supercars enduros, too.
I’ll head to Sydney Motorsport Park for the Supercars round and stay for a ride day after the race weekend, and then after Sydney I go straight to Mexico for the next WEC round. And then I’m back for Sandown.