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How Estre fared in first Supercar test

KEVIN Estre has given a detailed account of his maiden Supercars opportunity, after completing an evaluation day today at Winton Motor Raceway.

The Frenchman, who races for Porsche Penske Motorsport in the top tier of the World Endurance Championship, is co-driving with Grove Racing’s Matt Payne in the upcoming Sandown 500 and Repco Bathurst 1000.

Estre arrived in Australia yesterday and lapped up the first of two test days prior to Sandown.

“It was very good. There was a lot of new stuff to think about for a driver like me,” the 34-year-old told V8 Sleuth.

“I haven’t driven a car with a right-foot brake since 10 years I think, so it’s quite new, let’s say I had to re-do it.

“And then sitting on the right-side is definitely a challenge, and the type of car with less aero than what I’m used to and more movement on the platform.

“But I have to say I felt confident quite early during the day.

“It was difficult to be consistent and not doing any mistake – I did a few in the morning, mostly because I used the track too much on the left-side, so sitting on the right-side was probably one of the biggest issues today for me to manage the width of the car and make sure I don’t drop a wheel on the entry.

“The afternoon was actually quite smooth with better rhythm for me and a bit more consistent and knowing more what I was doing and knowing what the car needs.

“It’s still not perfect, that’s for sure, but I definitely understand what the car needs to be quick.

“I just now need to apply it and get the right braking and blipping and all that.”

Estre identified Carrera Cup as the closest previous car he’s driven to a Gen3 Mustang; perhaps that’s not a bad sign given he’s conquered both the French (2011) and German (2013) Carrera Cup titles.

“I would say for sure the car which is the closest is the 997 Cup Car, because you had to heel-and-toe, brake with the right foot, downshift with the gear, very little aero compared to IGT class or Hypercar, the cars I am driving now,” he said.

“So for me, this is for sure the closest I’ve driven to a Supercar, but the Supercar has a lot more power so on throttle application and exits, it’s definitely more of a challenge to get the traction and make sure you don’t break the traction too early and kill the tyres.”

The #19 Penrite Mustang at The Bend. Pic: Supplied/Mark Horsburgh

The 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour Pro class podium-finisher spoke with the likes of Earl Bamber and Matt Campbell (now Estre’s Porsche Penske stablemate, competing in IMSA) to gather an insight into what to expect from a Supercar.

“Those are the two guys I got info from and the rest, the team did a very good job to give me the information before my first test now in getting some data and video and knowing what to do in the car and what’s the basics,” said Estre.

“I felt very welcome and prepared the best I could without having the chance to drive the car (beforehand).”

Estre will again test at Winton tomorrow before switching back into WEC mode, for this weekend’s 6 Hours of Fuji.

“I’ll have a WEC round in between in the Hypercar so I’ll have to have a different mindset this weekend but then hopefully getting straight back into Supercars at Sandown with the feeling I have got these two days,” he said.

The Sandown 500 will run on September 15-17.

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