Friday, September 14, 2012

Gennaro Bonafede's fresh challenge! - Audi S4 in SA

Gennaro Bonafede Press Release

Bridgestone Production Cars – Round 8 – Killarney – 22 September

Following what can only be described as an encouraging maiden outing behind the wheel of the Ferodo Audi S4 at Zwartkops last month, Gennaro Bonafede can’t wait to sample the four wheel drive handling at Killarney.

Zwartkops was a baptism of fire for the almost 22-year old as he held his own in a rather aggressive midfield pack. Unfortunately rear suspension damage saw him miss the second race and then a front suspension failure saw him crash out of the third race.

Moving from class A to class T requires a whole new approach to driving as Bonafede explains.

“The driving style is completely different in the Audi. With the front wheel drive Golf it was mainly about carrying corner speed with a wider turn in and coming out the corner as narrow as possible and being very careful about putting on the power with wheel spin being the limiting factor.

“In the Audi it is all about getting the car stopped on the apex and getting straight back onto the power as early as possible, allowing the Quattro system do the rest of the work. With the car being heavier, braking is much more important. Braking a few meters earlier can cost you a lot of time. I think the main areas where the Audi is quicker than the Golf is under braking and then acceleration out the corner.”

A car’s potential maximum speed is seldom achieved on a race track as the straights are simply too short which means on a track like Zwartkops the top speeds aren't very different.

Bonafede has given Killarney a lot of thought. “We will see a big difference in times from the Class A to the Class T due to the long sweeping corners and two fairly long straights. Getting on the power was always an issue down in Cape Town in the Golf but with the Audi I’m sure it will be much better.

“I can't wait to go down there!!”

Brandon More is the team’s data analyst and he agrees with his driver. “With regard to the data, everything that G brought up is quite evident. The apex speed of the Golf and Audi are very similar but the Audi's Quattro system helps it accelerate much faster.

“For example, coming out of Turn 2 at Zwartkops, the Audi accelerates from 55kph to 155kph over a second faster than the Golf. On the brakes into Turn 2, the Audi decelerates 0.5 of a second faster from 155kph to 55kph compared to the Golf.”

Besides the Audi being left hand drive, it might not look as though there is a different technique for each type of car, but when the straight talking Bonafede says the two are very different, he means it.

Article and photos by Steve Wicks

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