Supercars rookie fine-tuning Ipswich tactics
MONSTER Energy Racing's Cam Waters is a rookie on a mission, taking it to the big guns in this year's Supercars Championship.
Here's his view on how it's going in 2017 and how he prepares for the Ipswich SuperSprint round at Queensland Raceway.
It was a pretty up-and-down weekend at the last Supercars round in Townsville but I'm pumped to be back in Queensland and ready to fight for podiums this weekend.
Saturday in Townsville wasn't too bad. We qualified fourth and ended up finishing the race in fifth. Then Sunday I qualified inside the top 10 and made the shootout for the fifth consecutive time this year, which was awesome.
But then in Race 14 on Sunday I bent the steering after contact with another driver, so I was going really well until that happened. My teammates are my benchmark. When they lift and get results it gives me that confidence boost I need to stick with them and battle with the top guys.
I definitely believe we have what it takes to keep that momentum going this weekend after a solid run by all our cars in Townsville.
I haven't really rested since Townsville.
I spent a couple of days up there doing some fishing and enjoying the warmer weather. But since being back I've been straight back to the workshop in Melbourne, working on ideas and looking at plenty of data with my engineer for the Ipswich round.
We study data from previous years at QR and also look at what's been working well for us at similar circuits this year. That way we can have a solid base setup and roll the car out of the truck at Ipswich on Friday, hopefully on the pace and only needing to make minor adjustments to tune it to perfection for the races.
Also between Townsville and now I've been smashing out the gym sessions with some boxing, weights, cycling and hyperbaric chamber work.
For these short, sharp races like the Ipswich Supersprint, the field is usually split by less than a second in qualifying, so keeping the body and mind as sharp as possible is vital around this track and can give that extra 10th in speed that can make all the difference around here.
Looking to Ipswich, I believe Prodrive Racing are more than capable of running in the top five all weekend, based on how we've been travelling this year.
I've had some good results at Ipswich previously, including during the Dunlop Series championship year in 2015. Last year I had some good pace here, just not the luck in the end.
The track at Ipswich is an interesting one being a paperclip and only six corners. It's very basic and very tight, but there's some fundamental things you really need the car to do around there to be quick, corner exit speed is crucial.
I think our car really suits the track, and if everything comes together this weekend I believe we can get that maiden podium we've been pushing hard for.
It's always awesome to head to sunny Queensland and tomorrow I'll be spending plenty of time with the fans prior to Friday's practice session.
I'm looking forward to getting out on Thursday to Coles in Ipswich from 10-11am, and to Woolworths in Yamanto (noon-1pm) for Monster Energy appearances with Frosty (Mark Winterbottom).
Spending time with fans is always a great way to start off a race week.
Don't miss Thursday's QT for Cam's special insights into tackling the Queensland Raceway "paperclip.''