Multiple World Superbike (WSBK) Champion, Queenslander Troy Bayliss displayed his proficiency on four wheels today as he test drove Craig Lowndes 2009 TeamVodafone V8 Supercar at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich.
The official evaluation saw the recently-retired racer turn over 80 laps of the circuit throughout the day following an intensive briefing session from team engineers.
The precise control and split-second concentration that saw Bayliss lead the way on the WSBK stage for a number of successful seasons ensured a smooth transition to the seat of the 600hp weapon, a racecar characterised by its extreme braking forces and high corner grip.
A sighting lap with Lowndes alongside in the passenger seat allowed him to become familiar with the circuit and its unique bumpy sections before the competitive instinct within took over.
Bayliss was relentless in his pursuit of lower lap times; his braking became more confident while his throttle application was measured and smooth, helping to maintain traction out of each of the seven corners.
After each five lap run he pit, taking time to consider feedback from engineer Jeremy Moore while sharing his own thoughts.
His best time was an impressive 11.8 lap, less than half a second shy of the mark set Craig Lowndes.
Bayliss said the experience had been immensely rewarding and said that the world-class touring car category was a logical progression as he pursued a career on four wheels.
“That was a dream come true,” Bayliss admitted. “I have been a huge fan of V8 Supercars for a long time and to finally get some laps in one felt amazing.
“A lot of the on-track principals transfer between the bike and the car and once the excitement of the first few laps wore off I felt like I was back at the office trying to perfect my corners and reduce my lap times.”
“I can’t thank TeamVodafone enough, they have been fantastic and extremely patient with me as I worked my way through today’s sessions.
“I can honestly say I have the bug, I definitely want to do more laps and try and get out there in either the Development Series or the endurance races,” Bayliss added.
TeamVodafone Principal Roland Dane, a Ducati devotee and long-time supporter of Bayliss’ efforts on the world stage, said today’s evaluation showed the WSBK champion’s natural aptitude for all forms of motorsport.
“Troy has really hit the ground running, he is the consummate professional . He is used to working in the top league of European motorsport, therefore there is nothing more we can teach him about procedures.”
“He has fitted in with our team very well and is straight on the money lap time wise. If he raced at Willowbank tomorrow in our category he would be mid grid immediately.”
“There are probably a few drivers in the championship that will need to watch their backs now,” Dane acknowledged.
Seven-times World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley also joined the team today for a fully-fledged 20-lap hitout in Lowndes V8 Supercar impressively manoeuvring the 1450kg 600 horsepower beast around the 3.15km circuit.