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Testing Times For 2021

The Covid shuffle has forced race organisers and teams around the world to juggle their calendars to get things moving for the new year.

Supercars is yet to finally confirm its pre-season test a Sydney Motorsport Park, MotoGP is moving its test base and Formula One looks to be shifting from Barcelona to Bahrain.

The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia series has completed its first hit-out at Phillip Island, where Dylan O’Keefe clocked the quickest time in his Renault Megane RS, and the W Series is headed to Paul Ricard in France after a total absence from tracks in 2020.

The most significant debut so far in 2021 is the all-new Toyota GR010, which is the Japanese company’s Le Mans hybrid. It will be competing in the Le Mans Hypercar category and has been heavily track-tested at Paul Ricard despite wet weather during some of the track time.

In the case of Supercars, the ongoing border restrictions in Australia could yet see a change to the program.

“The test is so far going ahead as planned, with contingency options at QR and Winton if Coronavirus restrictions result in a requirement to adjust,” the Supercars spokesperson told Race News.

That could still means that teams head to their local track, Queensland Raceway for outfits in the sunshine stage and Winton for Victorians, although that could also cause a potential problem for Team Sydney.

But Supercars reports that its end-of-season evaluation of new Dunlop race rubber for 2021 went well during a hit-out at QR by a DJR Mustang and a Red Bull Commodore.

“We’re happy with the outcomes from the tyre test and we will be running Hard, Soft and Super Soft compounds this year,” said the spokesperson.

“We will continually work on compounds with Dunlop because we want to match the best tyre to each track surface. This helps optimise degradation for the best possible racing.”

In the case of MotoGP, the cancellation of its traditional shakedown and pre-season test means the two events have been moved to the Losail circuit in Qatar. The first track time will be on March 5, for rookie and test riders only, followed by full-scale tests on March 6-7 and 10-12.

For the W Series, which has been promoted to support-race status at some Formula One race meetings this year, testing will happen over five days at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain, ahead of the first race at Paul Ricard in June.

“Pre-season tests are always important, but this one is especially so given the extended period that our drivers have spent away from on-track action due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It is for that reason that we have set aside five days for this year’s W Series pre-season test,” said Dave Ryan, racing director of the W Series.

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