Peter Xiberras returned to the track last week for the first time since a crash at Sydney Dragway in January.
Under the watchful eye of crew chief Tim Adams, Xiberras drove a repaired Premiair rail to some early shut off passes at Willowbank Raceway as the team chased a clutch gremlin throughout testing.
The team has recently purchased a new car from Morgan Lucas Racing in the USA but Adams said the car they were testing was a front halved version of their former car, with the new car to be debuted next season. The team has taken the opportunity to pull some components from the new car however included wings and the rear end, which came in handy when their own diff packed it in on their first test pass.
“We got some teething issues out the road that is for sure,” Adams said. “We had a brand new rear end in it for the first lap and it had a bit of noise in it on the overdrive. Under load it didn't have any noises, but we weren't brave enough to run it again.
“Thankfully all the Lucas stuff turned up and arrived in the workshop on Sunday, we have two late model rear ends in the shed so we we were able to grab them to fit to the car. We had to get some machine work done to fit it but that let us get back out there.”
The second day of testing was a little more productive, however Adams found himself unable to generate the driveshaft speed needed to get the car moving without tyre shake.
“We got two runs in and that was enough to tell us we need to do our homework on getting some earlier driveshaft speed. It's not getting the wheel speed up and I don't believe it is a car issue, it might be a clutch gremlin. We made a big move in the primary (clutch) which should have made a big difference, but it did the exact same thing.
“It was a frustrating time, but good to get the niggling things out of the road.”
The team will be rebuilding their gear in anticipation of the 50th Gulf Western Oil Winternationals, where their first qualifying run will come on Friday.
“The plan is to use this car for the Winternationals and the Darwin event and then switch to the Lucas car for next season. Hopefully we will be up here again for testing before we go to Darwin, then we will get that car ready.
“We won't be running it exactly like the Lucas stuff, we will stay with our engine combination, and we are debating whether to change the clutch combination to a six disc (the team now runs five).
“The (Lucas) cars are really nice, the engineering and workmanship on them is flawless. The fine detail stuff they did is really neat.
“Peter fits in the Lucas car a lot more comfortably, in the current car he is a little squished for leg room. There is a bit it more safety stuff built in too, that was another reason why we went that way."
Check out some video of one of the team's passes below.