Formula 1 | Alpine pilots enthusiastic after Supercars test in the oval

A special invitation for Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon: Shortly before the race weekend of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park in Melbourne, the two Alpine team-mates were initially deployed 30 kilometers north-west on Wednesday.

On the grounds of the Calder Park Motorsport Complex, Gasly and Ocon were able to test a Ford Mustang GT from the Tickford team from the current 2023 Supercars season together with young Alpine driver Jack Doohan, the son of motorcycle legend Mick Doohan. Joint sponsor Castrol made it possible.

The special feature: the test in Thomas Randle’s Mustang did not take place on the circuit but on the oval course. It is a 1.1 mile (1.8 km) oval with a banked angle of 24 degrees.

Although the weather wasn’t perfect and the Mustang being tested will be driven by Randle from Thursday on the Supercars weekend at Albert Park (in the Formula 1 supporting programme), Gasly and Ocon are impressed by the rare opportunity.

“That was crazy,” Gasly enthuses. “It was an incredible experience to be able to drive this beast for the first time. It was my first time ever driving on the oval. I have to say, it was just incredible, but just over too quickly. When I got back to the Box had to come, I would have preferred to stay out for ten laps.”

Gasly is not only impressed by his first laps in the oval, but also by the Ford Mustang of the brand new Supercars generation Gen3: “The car is really impressive, completely different from what I usually drive. I definitely had a lot of fun!”

Ocon also expresses himself with shining eyes. “It was a great experience. I like trying out other categories and had a lot of fun. The acceleration is amazing. But because the car will be used in races from tomorrow, we obviously had to be a bit careful,” said the Frenchman.

“Apart from that, it was slightly damp and we had to drive with rain tires, but we definitely got an impression. It’s a real supercar. I’ve already raced in cars with roofs in my career,” said Ocon, referring to 2016. At that time he drove half a season for Mercedes in the DTM.

“That’s something very special”

However, the Supercars test also appealed to Ocon in the less-than-perfect conditions. “This was clearly one of the highlights,” he says and can imagine racing in Australia’s popular touring car series in the future: “I often drive Bathurst in the simulator. That’s something very special. I’d like that Try it in real life, no question. Maybe one day it will work.”

By the way: For Supercars driver Thomas Randle, who gave Gasly, Ocon and Doohan advice and support while they drove his car, it was the second such experience. Last year, then-Alpine driver Fernando Alonso tested Randle’s then-Gen2-spec Ford Mustang directly in Albert Park.

And it was at the Calder Park Motorsport Complex that it was the second time supercars and Formula 1 have met. In 2019, Daniel Ricciardo drove Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima from that season’s Supercars. In contrast to Gasly and Ocon, Ricciardo did not ride the oval at the time, but the circuit. Supercars races took place on it until 2001.