“It’s a big step up” – Iain McDougall
Two rounds into his Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series comeback, Iain McDougall has quickly realised the developments by the field since its inaugural season in 2019.
McDougall made his debut at The Bend Motorsport Park finale in 2019 where he finished the weekend inside the top 10, however he noted the rise in competition after returning to the series at Phillip Island driving a Melbourne Performance Centre-prepared Audi RS3 LMS TCR under the Challenge Motorsport stable.
“The main thing that has caught my attention is how condensed the field,” he explained.
“It’s a big step up.
“The last few seasons may have been COVID impacted, but a lot has been learnt about the cars in terms of driving, set-up and racecraft as well.
“The gap off the lead to get into the 10 at The Bend, to have that you’re outside back of the 20, so it’s a learning curve, the category has come a long way and it’s a great challenge to be involved with.”
Working with Melbourne Performance Centre has McDougall confident of rapid improvement in the coming rounds.
“It’s been really good,” McDougall summarised. “The MPC guys have a run a really tight ship and they have a lot experience in doing this.
“It’s their bread and butter.
“They’ve got a heap of data, they’ve got a heap of learnings and the cars are really fast, so it’s a matter of changing my driving styles to suit all the new traits others have used to make these things go quick. I just need to get this dialled in, but the challenge is to be consistent for 16 laps and take every opportunity that comes your way in the races.
McDougall believes the Audi will be well suited to the Sydney Motorsport Park layout, albeit he will need to learn where some of the controls are, particularly for the headlights.
“We were pretty competitive at Phillip Island in terms of straight line speed and mid-corner through fast stuff, so going in pretty comfortable,” he said.
“But I don’t know where the headlight button is because I haven’t needed, I knew where the flash was to use for the final laps during the Bathurst twilight race.”
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series headlines the third round of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships where fellow Australian Racing Group categories the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship, Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters and Turtle Wax Trans Am Series feature at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 27-29.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, the Australian Production Car Series, Radical Cup and the Australian Prototype Series complete a stacked program of categories.
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All the action can be viewed live and uninterrupted on Stan Sport, while a highlights package will be broadcast after the event on 9Gem (times to be advised).