Alex Premat says he won’t travel from the US to Australia for any of the dedicated co-driver practice sessions ahead of the Supercars endurance season this year.
The Las Vegas-based Frenchman came into last year’s Sandown, Bathurst, and Gold Coast rounds with few laps under his belt, after opting to not bother travelling to take part in practice during any of the sprint rounds during the first two thirds of the year.
Despite question marks over his race fitness in the lead up to the Sandown 500 last year, Premat played a starring role throughout the three long-distance races, he and Shane van Gisbergen combining to win the Enduro Cup.
This year’s build-up is set to be no different, Premat confirming that he has spoken to new team DJR Team Penske about not attending any of the sprint rounds.
“It will be the same,” he told Motorsport.com. “I mean, I had that discussion with Roland [Dane] when I was with Triple Eight last year, and with Ryan [Story] and the team this year.
“Flying from either the United States or Europe to [Australia] to do a 30-minute test with shit tyres, it makes no sense. It’s not worth it. I would prefer that Scott [McLaughin] just drives the car, and that the people are focused on their weekend.
“Even Paul Dumbrell didn’t do it last year, and we were the two quickest co-drivers. In my case, with all the experience I have from the last 10 years in Formula 1, DTM, sportscars, I can jump in the car and be fast in five laps.”
Premat added that, like last year, he has no concerns over not having a regular race seat, saying that his one-off outings and regular test and development work will keep him race fit enough for the Supercars enduros.
“I’ll be still running in the series that I run in the United States, and at the same time I’m going to do some testing with Electric GT, which is based in Europe. They are going to do a Tesla GT championship in 2017, so I will be part of that championship, doing some races in Europe and maybe they will also have some races in America.
“And then, yeah, doing some development for Renault and Ligier in LMP2, so I’m trying to keep warm.
“It won’t be an issue. The hardest things with Supercars is if you don’t know the track, and you don’t know the cars. It’s hard.
“But as soon as you know the series, the rules, the drivers, the mentality, the tracks, you can jump in the car pretty fast.
“It’s just having that Supercars culture. As soon as you have it, it’s alright.”