Three rookies sampled a V8-powered S5000 open-wheeler for the first time today, as the category kicked off testing following the coronavirus lockdown.
There were four young drivers on hand for the Phillip Island test, however only three of the confirmed drivers – Nathan Herne, Cody Burcher and Cooper Webster – cut laps in the car, with Reef McCarthy watching on.
The youngsters spent the first part of the test at a controlled test, following Garry Rogers Motorsport regular James Golding around the circuit, before being let loose in a second session.
“They’re pretty cool, they’re like a Trans Am but in an open-wheeler body,” said Trans Am driver Herne.
“The Trans-Ams really like to use the brakes hard in the mid-corner and get the weight transferred around, but the S5000s require a smoother driving style, they don’t like to be flicked around, But they’re good fun to drive.”
Karting ace Webster added: “I’ve never driven anything like this, so it’s been a great learning experience and it’s amazing how fast the car is and what you can do with the amount of aero grip it has.
“I’ve raced go karts and come out of Hyundai Excels and jumped into this S5000 open-wheeler car. A lot of things are different, it is more similar to a go-kart than an Excel. I’ve learnt the size of the tracks in Excels and how quick you can travel in a car but this has a lot more horsepower and weight added to it, and the downforce is completely different to anything I have driven.”
Burcher, who did conduct a brief test in an S5000 back in March before the lockdown, admitted the power compared to his Formula Ford is still taking some getting used to.
“They are great cars to drive, obviously a handful with the massive amount of power and there was definitely a lot of fish-tailing out of the low speed corners,” he explained.
“It’s credit to everyone who was involved in creating these cars, they are a weapon to drive and so much fun.
“This is the most powerful car I’ve ever driven, you drive out of the pits and as soon as you take off the pit limiter and it pushes you back further into the seat, which is really cool.
“The power is the most standout part of the car and the top speed hitting over 290 km/h down the front straight of Phillip Island.
“It’s awesome fun, definitely an eye-opener and your reflexes have to be on point, but once you get used to it they’re phenomenal to drive and so much fun.”
The S5000 season will kick off at Sydney Motorsport Park on August 14-15.
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