Reigning New Zealand V8 SuperTourer champion Simon Evans is in Perth this weekend for his second yahoo in the Aussie V8 Supercars Development Series.
This weekend , Australia V8 racing rookie Evans will be up against a full 30-car field of very competitive racers. Not one to be shy of a challenge, Evans entered his first race in the series on the mean streets of Adelaide with a plan in mind.
Try and qualify well, stay out of trouble and bring the car home straight, and in one piece. “The first thing to remember was that Adelaide is a street circuit with concrete all around it,” said Evans.
“With that in mind, it made it even more interesting that there were 30 cars in the field, and it’s a bit different from racing here in New Zealand.
“Over there there’s no difference between racing for 23rd or first. It doesn’t matter where you’re racing in the field no one holds back.
“I didn’t want to take any risks in my first race over there and just wanted a clean race and build on things from there heading to Perth this weekend.”
Simon Evans in action at the NZ SuperTourers series in March.
Evans’ SuperTourer car is more akin to a main game V8 Supercars machine than a Development Series car. This in itself has taken a bit of getting used to, but as Evans explained it’s not quite a chalk-and-cheese scenario.
“Now that I’ve wrapped up the SuperTourers championship I can concentrate on this series. Okay, they are both V8 engineered cars, but they drive quite differently. “I’m still in a learning phase and have realised the Development car drives a bit lazier than the SuperTourer does. What I’m trying to figure at the moment is just how lazy is lazy — or, more importantly, how it should feel.
“The more I drive the car, the more comfortable I feel in it. It’s not the sort of car you can come to grips with in just a few laps. It takes a bit more time than that.
You just have to look at V8 Supercars champions; they didn’t get there [winning lots of races] in their rookie season.”
High on the positive list for Evans’ second outing in the 2015 series is that he’s back on a purpose-built racetrack. Street circuits are a peculiar beast — they can suit a certain hard-out driving style, but will also ruin the dreams of the overly opportunistic.
This weekend, Evans knows he may just be able to push the envelope a bit more, and not suffer dire consequences if things go a bit pear-shaped because this time around he’s got a bit of wiggle room.
“If I do somehow fall off the track this weekend at least I’m not going to look a total idiot and hit a wall, possibly destroying the car.
“Another good thing is that we’ll have more practice time at Barbagallo [racetrack] than we had at Adelaide. I’m pleased about that as I haven’t been to any of these tracks before — except Winton, which is our test track.”
Racing in Development will be a steep learning curve for Evans this year because all of his fellow competitors have one goal in mind: the burning desire to get into the main game and none of them really care how that happens.
He should do okay, though, as he’s always had a measured approach to his racing career and knows that points mean prizes.
V8 Supercars Development Series Calendar
May 1-3 Perth SuperSprint July 10-12 Townsville 400 July 31-August 2 Ipswich SuperSprint October 8-11 Bathurst 1000 December 4-6 Sydney 500