Along with the successful open test day program last Tuesday at The Bend, the S5000’s saw several cars equipped with new upgrade packages to enhance the drivers handling and car capabilities.
The biggest new feature would be the push-to-pass function, a system programmed into the cars existing ECU that will be operated via the drive by wire throttle system. Once the system is activated, there will be additional throttle to be accessed.
Testing for the new Hoosier construct tyre, a softer compound, is also ongoing today at Phillip Island. The new construction tyre is aimed at giving the car as much mechanical front grip as possible, whilst also being a few steps softer than the one’s currently in competition use.
AUTO ACTION spoke with Stefan Millard, GRM Team Manager, and got his feedback on the new upgrade’s performance, which were tested by two-time S5000 champion, and Team BRM driver, Joey Mawson.
“It was really positive, we had a couple of cars testing and working through the list of upgrades that we have,” Martin commented.
“The push-to-pass works really well, and we were testing the logic, making sure the function works as expected on track and just tuning the effectiveness of it.
“It was all about understanding the time difference on any given straight, of what we can and can’t achieve, and it was very positive. It’ll be a really great feature for the category.”
In terms of the speed difference and the give and take around the track, Martin explained how the function will look, and the amount of access drivers will have to the feature on a race day, which is expected to debut in the Trans Tasman series at the Gold Coast on October 29-30.
“So really, the setting allows the driver to operate at full power, which means the normal race setting will be slightly reduced. We couldn’t obviously magically make more horsepower because these machines are already tapped out with what they’ve already got,” Martin explained.
“In terms of speed, we’re seeing about an extra 5 to 6 km/ph by the end of the Tailem Bend straight, so about three tenths in the time difference down the straight, but there’s still some fine tuning room within that to work with.
As originally stated when the details of the upgrades were released, it is likely that it will now feature in the Trans Tasman series at the Gold Coast, Phillip Island, and the streets of Adelaide for the Valo 500. It now remains to be seen, just how many activations a driver will have per race.
“The thing to remember, with the way the logic is set-up in the ECU, it’s quite different to the DRS function in F1. Our’s can also be used for defending, not just in attacking.
“We’re thinking that after discussions with drivers, that maybe a third of the race to lap ratio would be a good balance. So if it’s 15 laps, you can have five presses. Because of the defence and attack nature of it, it will be interesting to see the battles that evolve strategy wise.
Although the tyre testing couldn’t be done at The Bend- which won’t feature I this year’s Trans Tasman series – they also managed to test out new damper choices, provided by Rob Palermo of JRi.
“Effectively what we are looking for there is to make the car switch on quicker to its tyres, and improve the overall handling, making it more predictable and consistent for the drivers.
“We’ve also implemented some improved mirrors, which will help in giving the drivers more confidence with the ability to turn in and just know the exact position of the car behind. All this will just give them confidence to race harder.”
S5000 Trans Tasman Calendar
Gold Coast (Gold Coast 500) October 29-30
Mt Panorama (Bathurst International) November 11-13
Adelaide (Valo Adelaide 500) December 1-4
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