Penrite Racing Team Principal David Cauchi has told Speedcafe that the team has more work to do to beat the heat ahead of next month's Townsville 500.
The Braeside outfit ran cooling directly to the helmets of its drivers for the first time during last weekend's Darwin Triple Crown, after the heat at the opening round in March at the Newcastle 500 became an issue for multiple competitors.
That was in addition to the ChillOut refrigeration unit used to cool Grove drivers David Reynolds and Matt Payne's suits, a system that pioneered by Erebus Motorsport and Cauchi's former team, Triple Eight Race Engineering.
Additionally, ahead of the Darwin round, Reynolds prepared for the higher temperatures through daily use of a traditional rock sauna at his home in much cooler Melbourne to acclimatise to Supercars' two northern races.
Hidden Valley's sprint format, where three 35-lap races took place, meant that the 32-degree weekend days had less of an impact in the cabin, where temperatures can soar for the fireproof race suit-clad drivers.
“I think in these shorter races, it hasn't been an issue,” Cauchi told Speedcafe in Darwin.
“It's definitely very hot, no doubt about that. Dave and Matt both handled the conditions fine. They've been working on their cooling before and after the race, so it hasn't been an issue all weekend.”
Townsville, however, returns to the ‘500' format that was run at Newcastle, with two 88-lap, 250km races in comparison to Darwin's three 100km sprints.
“I think there are still some things we can probably improve,” Cauchi added. “We've still got some longer races in some really hot places; I think that's when that stuff really starts to show.”
The team leader also suggested that there are additional measures that the team can take to counter the expected heat in Townsville, and in anticipation of the late October Gold Coast race, which will also follow the ‘500' format.
“There's lots of things – shielding, exhaust coating – there's a few options there,” he said.
Teams struggled with the heat during the first Gen3 outing at Newcastle in March, where Red Bull Ampol Racing was unceremoniously disqualified after a one-two in the opening race for a technical breach regarding the set-up of their cooling system.
Shane van Gisbergen commented in the Friday press conference at Newcastle that Supercars needed to act in the name of driver safety, which helped prompt a change by Supercars post-event regarding the multiple set-ups employed by competitors.