Chad Reeds V8 Supercar evaluation
A palpable air of anticipation hung over the pitlane at Queensland Raceway on Monday morning as leading Ford V8 Supercar outfit TeamVodafone prepared to strap a fresh face into the driving seat.
Former World and AMA Supercross champion Chad Reed made the first moves in pursuing his four-wheeled passion, attending an officially-sanctioned Driver Evaluation Day, a fully-fledged introduction to the competitive ranks of the rapidly-expanding Australian touring car category.
V8 Supercars have always been a serious interest of Aussie born and bred Reed, and he jumped at the rare opportunity to join the nation’s leading team and 2006 Bathurst 1000 winners, jetting back from his Florida home solely for Monday's test. Many internationals have climbed boldly aboard a V8 Supercar, only to emerge red-faced – the skill and strength required to lap competitively and consistently is hugely underestimated, a fact that never escaped the personable 24-year-old.
“I knew it would be tough but to be honest I was disappointed with my first session, I really struggled to make any progress and found it tough to reach the accelerator and brakes at the same time,” said Reed. “The guys at TeamVodafone were fantastic though, and made changes which improved my performance straight away. I felt much better and was able to concentrate on going that little bit quicker each lap, getting good gear changes and making apexes.”
Reed completed a number of stints aboard the #888 Ford Falcon BF, working on specific areas after briefings with the team. The technical nature of Queensland Raceway, about half-an-hour from Brisbane, as well as its infamous bumps, made the task an even greater one.
“I feel as though I got better and better each lap, its just a matter of being receptive and getting the basics right,” he explained. “The learning curve is incredible, there is so much going on and you need one hundred percent focus for one hundred percent of the time!”
He climbed back aboard the TeamVodafone Falcon later in the afternoon, and his growing confidence was apparent as his lap times began to plummet. Reed was quick to praise the crew, who are in the midst of preparing for this weekend’s round at Sydney’s Oran Park, for their patience and their insight.
“The opportunity has been fantastic, and to be able to spend a day with one of the best teams in the championship has just been amazing – thanks to Roland and all involved for their assistance.”
Team Principal and co-owner of Triple Eight Race Engineering Roland Dane was instrumental in organising Reed’s participation and said that he had done a fantastic job.
“Chad has done everything we asked of him and rapidly improved lap after lap, to his credit he took on board all of the advice the team offered and his times just got better and better,” said Dane. “The purpose of the evaluation was to introduce him to the nature of the car and what it requires of him, it was never about going out and chasing a time.”
“He’s got an incredible gift and for someone with absolutely no car racing experience he is doing a great job, we look forward to a continued association with him as he looks towards the future.”