It’s one of the country’s most iconic venues, but Sydney driver Daniel Holihan is using new technology to prepare for the next round of the Victorian Formula Ford Championship at Sandown Raceway this weekend.
The advances in technology in recent times has seen racing simulators become an integral part of race preparation for drivers – Holihan is no exception.
The historic Sandown International Raceway is one venue Holihan has not driven on prior to the 2016 season, but that will change when he contests the latest round of the Victorian Formula Ford series this weekend.
While there are still subtle differences between simulators and the actual driving cockpit, there aren’t many, thanks mostly to those advancements in technology, which now give drivers a real-life experience from the comfort of their living room, without breaking the budget.
SIM racing is the breeding ground for the next generation – the NISMO team that went to victory lane in the 2015 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is the leading example of those who’ve successfully transitioned from racing behind closed doors, to getting up close with the bitumen.
Locally, Josh Muggleton has enjoyed SIM racing success, and now is a regular on the NSW Production Touring Car Championship grid.
Whilst Holihan is a dedicated racer, and a self-acclaimed weekend warrior, he still looks for a racing fix when he isn’t at the race track, and has used the facilities at RaceCentre in Sydney, to familiarise himself with the 3.1km layout, before getting behind the wheel proper for Qualifying on Saturday.
Holihan hopes those sessions in the simulator will help him get up to speed quickly, and keep in contention with the front-running competitors. If it weren’t for the simulator, Holihan would have started learning the track from scratch in Friday practice, and would be playing catch-up all weekend long.
It’s a busy time for Holihan. A fortnight ago, he was in the JRA Racing Formula Vee at Wakefield Park. Next weekend, he’ll contest the National Formula Ford round at Sydney Motorsport Park – an event which doubles as a round of the New South Wales Series, and He’ll be back at SMP on the Queen’s Birthday weekend for a run in his Historic Formula Ford.
The run in Formula Vee didn’t go to plan for Holihan. He was caught up in a crash in the opening race of the weekend, and was forced to sit out the remaining four races due to minor injury – something that’s left him itching to get back behind the wheel of his regular drive this weekend.
Holihan missed the opening event of the Victorian Championship, and will miss the penultimate round as well due to family reasons, so whilst it is highly unlikely he’ll be competitive in the points race, Holihan will use the other three events of the series to test his skill and race craft against the best Victoria has to offer, and then look ahead to a full campaign in 2017.
Holihan goes to Sandown with confidence after achieving competitive and consistent times behind the wheel of the simulator, and is looking forward to hitting the track proper.
Away from Formula Ford, Holihan recently confirmed he’ll get back behind the wheel of the Suzuki Swit he drove in the recent Bathurst 6 Hour at Mount Panorama, for the final round of the Australian Production Car Series at Sydney Motorsport Park from November 11-13.
It will be Holihan’s sole drive in the series for 2016, when he teams up with his Bathurst team-mates, Simon Hodges and Andrew Crawshaw once more.