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Perez upbeat by first Supercar laps

Formula 1 star Sergio Perez has enjoyed his first taste of a Triple Eight Supercar.

The two-time Grand Prix winner took to a Red Bull Ampol-liveried Commodore at Albert Park on Thursday.

Red Bull Racing driver Perez, who recently scored his first F1 pole, was shown the rigours of a Supercar by Broc Feeney.

It comes after Feeney qualified fourth for the second race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400.

Mexican driver Perez is preparing for his 10th Australian Grand Prix start and his first with Red Bull.

The former Ferrari junior made his F1 debut in 2011 for Sauber, and moved to Force India in 2014 following a year with McLaren.

He remained with Force India through its renaming to Racing Point before he shifted to Red Bull in 2021.

Perez has made over 200 F1 starts, and firms as an outside chance for the 2022 title.

For Perez, the key differences between his 795kg F1 car and the 1395 Supercar were mainly felt when he hit the brake pedal.

However, he expressed his delight in being able to attack the circuit with more vigour.

“The braking was the biggest challenge,” Perez said.

“The braking efficiency, coordinating the corners is quite different.

“But it’s really good fun; the amount of kerb you’re able to take, you’re limited with that in F1.

“I was able to use the whole track.”

Triple Eight Race Engineering is also celebrating 10 seasons with energy drink giant Red Bull as its naming rights sponsor.

Perez wasn’t the only F1 star to sample a Supercar; a few hundred metres up pit lane, Fernando Alonso took to Thomas Randle’s Castrol Mustang.

The F1 and Supercars worlds have oft intertwined, most recently when current world champion Max Verstappen raced in Supercars’ Eseries in 2020.

Popular Australian driver Daniel Riccardo sampled Triple Eight’s ‘Sandman’ ride car at Sandown in 2016.

Three years later, Ricciardo cut laps aboard Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima at Calder Park. also drove the Kelly Racing Nissan Altima at Calder Park in 2019

Perez, who races with a paddle shift gear system, also expressed his delight with Supercars’ sequential gear system.

“It’s semi-automatic, so it’s straightforward,” he said.

“[Cornering] is quite tricky in that regard, it was quite an experience.

“It was really good fun.”

Supercars drivers will return for two more ARMOR ALL Qualifying sessions on Friday morning.

Perez will tackle Albert Park for Free Practice 1 of the F1 event at 1:00pm AEST today.

Alonso rates ‘amazing’ Supercar experience

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso was elated by his first experience aboard a Supercar.

The Alpine F1 driver sampled Thomas Randle’s Tickford Racing Mustang at Albert Park on Thursday.

Alonso is in Melbourne for this weekend’s Heineken Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was joined by Randle for a handful of laps around the Melbourne circuit.

It comes as the 335-race veteran readies for his 17th Australian Grand Prix start.

It will be Alonso’s first Australian Grand Prix since returning from his two-year sabbatical in 2021.

Alonso, who began karting at the age of three, compared the Mustang Supercar to other machinery he has driven.

“It’s between a GT3 and a NASCAR,” Alonso explained.

“It’s heavier and softer on the corners, but then you feel the power, the V8… the noise is amazing.

“It’s good fun [to drive], because the cars a very similar to each other on the grid.

“They are only separated by one second, so I’ve heard, and with 25 cars, that’s amazing.”

Alonso was shown the ins and outs of a Supercar by former Super2 champion Randle.

It comes as the Tickford rookie contests his first weekend at Albert Park of his full-time Supercars career.

Thursday was also Randle’s celebrates his 26th birthday.

For Alonso, being able to rag-doll a Supercar with Randle watching was an experience in itself.

“We look after our cars like they are our babies, so to have someone else drive your car is a lot of pressure,” Alonso laughed.

“I tried to behave and take care of the car, to make sure he is happy.”

Alonso wasn’t the only F1 star to sample a Supercar on Thursday.

A few hundred metres down pit lane, Sergio Perez took to Broc Feeney’s Red Bull Ampol Racing Commodore.

When asked if he would consider turning his hand to racing in a Supercar, Alonso remained coy.

“Who knows, there are a couple of amazing races here, Bathurst being the most popular one,” 32-time Grand Prix winner Alonso said.

“It’s not in the short-term plan, but you never say never.”

Supercars drivers will return for two more ARMOR ALL Qualifying sessions on Friday morning.



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