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How push-to-pass will work in S5000’s Gold Coast debut

LEADING drivers expect the introduction of a push-to-pass system to spice up S5000’s maiden visit to the streets of Surfers Paradise.

A series of changes were trialled at an S5000 open test last month, including push-to-pass as well as efforts to improve driveability.

New tyre compounds and constructions were also run with a view to debuting those in 2023.

The category never subsequently confirmed the outcome of the open test, but V8 Sleuth has learnt the driveability changes and push-to-pass have both been approved for this weekend’s Tasman Series opener on the Gold Coast.

Drivers will be granted six push-to-pass boosts per race, each of which will remain on until the driver brakes.

MORE: S5000 secures first female driver

In actual fact, the throttle will be restricted to 90 percent during races – with 100 percent only activated by the push-to-pass system.

Cars will have 100 percent throttle available during practice and qualifying.

“The push-to-pass is going to be good. It’s what the category needs,” said Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Nathan Herne.

“You don’t get much of a slipstream in these cars, and we thought you would because it’s an open-wheeler with downforce. But they’ve got a lot of torque so they punch the air pretty well and they are pretty slippery, so there’s no slipstream.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport car of Jordan Boys

“Push-to-pass should encourage a bit of racing, but the Gold Coast is a pretty narrow track and these things are pretty wide, so it will still be hard to pass.”

Elaborating on how it will be used, Herne continued: “It’s going to be a strategy game.

“You might save them all up for the last lap and go ham and cheese on the last lap, or use them early in the race to build a gap.

“You can’t really notice the horsepower is turned down because the cars are still lethal to drive. But once you turn up the wick… you can use the full rev range.

“You still can without push-to-pass, but for the best torque you shift a bit earlier. You don’t notice it until fourth gear up. In qualifying and practice we’re at full power, then it will be turned down for the races.

“As soon as you clear the brake you’ll want to have that button pushed.”

Herne also described the broader car changes as “a reset for the whole category”.

“Things you might have learned in the previous generation of car, you’ll have to scratch that and relearn it,” he added.

On that front, Herne’s teammate Jordan Boys said: “It’s not night and day different, the technical changes, but it has just made the cars a lot more user-friendly so I think for the guys that jump straight into them, it won’t be so scary.

“Because the problem at the moment is (without) tyre temp they are genuinely scary to drive.

“I think this will fix that up.”

Herne did note a key challenge for drivers this weekend though.

“These S5000s are a pretty beasty car. They are very similar to a Supercar in a lot of ways, except we can’t take the kerbs,” he said.

“To get around this track fast, you need to use the kerbs. It will be a lot of risk versus reward.

“You can try and hit the kerbs, but as we’ve seen in the past, these things will bend pushrods and spit you into the fence pretty quickly.

“If you want to risk it, risk ending up in the fence, you can go through the kerbs and gain that tenth or two. I reckon it’s going to be a bit of slow and steady wins the race.”

The Tasman Series will take in the Gold Coast 500 and Adelaide 500.

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