24 November 2021 | General

S5000 at Bathurst an ‘Engineering Challenge’

The debut of the home-grown Rogers AF01/V8 S5000s at the iconic 6.213km Mount Panorama circuit will pose an engineering challenge for teams contesting the second and final round of the Shannons Tasman Series next week.

That’s the word from experienced engineers in the paddock who face the challenge of working with their drivers to fine-tune the cars to the unique Bathurst circuit.

The combination of significant elevation change, extreme cambers and undulations plus a mixture of both long straights and high-speed corners will ensure that teams will need to work hard to find the ideal compromise to produce both ultimate lap times and a competitive race package.

According to Alabar / Form 700 Team BRM’s engineer Marcus Koch, unloading the cars on Tuesday without a clear direction on car setup poses the biggest challenge.

“I think its going to be a stab in the dark where we start the cars,” he explained.

“We’re going to have to rely on the experience of myself and Simon (Hodge, who engineers Gold Star champion Joey Mawson) to get a starting position on the setup, and then for the drivers to utilise the first two sessions to give us some good feedback so we can make the right changes.”

Two 30-minute sessions on Tuesday will set the basis for the entire weekend, with the field switching to qualifying and racing the following day.

Koch, who spent years in Europe running high-level ‘wings and slicks’ teams in series like Formula Renault 3.5, said Bathurst had similarities to another iconic circuit known the world over.

“I think we have a baseline we’ll go for, then we have to vary that for the second session,” Koch said.

“(Bathurst is) very much like Spa, where we have three sectors that are very different. We either have to go for a high speed setup for the straights or the mid sector which is the big high speed bends.

“We have to work that out as quickly as we can in two half hour sessions, which is pretty demanding, but it’s probably more demanding for the drivers because they’ve never been there.

“They’ve got little experience with the cars, but this team is very fortunate to have someone as fortunate with Joey and Roberto’s experience in it so I think we’ll get there very quickly.

“If you are a good driver you adapt quickly. For someone like Roberto, he’s just used to going to a track and within a few laps he’ll be on it. even a circuit like Bathurst.”

Valvoline Garry Rogers Motorsport driver Aaron Cameron leads the standings following the first round at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend, while Tim Macrow and Roberto Merhi are tied on points in second position.

Practice for the second round of the Shannons Tasman Series commences on Tuesday, November 30 at Mount Panorama.