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Jan 23, 2014 - 03:26 AM
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Solomon Slips Quietly Into Australia For More Miles In The SLS AMG
Posted by: newsla on Jan 23, 2014 - 03:20 AM
Sports Cars
Solomon Slips Quietly Into Australia For More Miles In The SLS AMG


Young Hong Kong open-wheel sensation Matthew Solomon quietly slipped into Australia recently to join AMG Customer Sports team Erebus Motorsport for a few laps of the world class Phillip Island circuit in south-eastern Victoria.

 

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As part of the Australian team’s defence of the forthcoming Bathurst 12-Hour endurance race with 2013 champion Bernd Schneider again at the helm, Solomon rejoined the crew who helped him and 2013 Erebus Motorsport team-mate Mika Hakkinen to a famous victory at Zhuhai last October for a number of laps to reacclimatise himself with the SLS AMG GT3.

“It was an opportunity to gain more miles in the SLS, and also discuss the opportunities for the season ahead,” Solomon admitted as he just as quietly slipped back out of the country that same afternoon.

He was one of a number of drivers who took part in the final official ‘test’ session ahead of the Bathurst 12-Hour, joining Erebus Motorsport regulars Jack Le Brocq and Maro Engel, and new recruits Will Davison and Greg Crick.

“I think it [the opportunity] was amazing. I really loved the track, and the chance to drive the Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG again. At Zhuhai last October we really didn’t get the chance to test the car’s full potential on a fast, flowing, open circuit like Phillip Island, so it was great to get a feel for the car on a circuit where aero really comes into play. The amount of downforce the SLS has for a GT car is very impressive, you can really feel it stick through the fast corners.

“I’d watched some of the onboard footage of Jack Le Brocq breaking the lap record around there last year in the Erebus Motorsport SLS - and I watched some of the V8 Supercar action too, so I had a bit of an idea about the circuit, but nothing quite prepares you for actually getting behind the wheel - I was smiling from ear-to-ear every lap!

“With the size and weight of the SLS compared to the Formula Masters China Series [FMCS] single seater I’m used to, the aero grip and the speed it can carry through the fast corners like turn one and the run onto the front straight is just incredible. The way the car changes direction too, you can feel it as you lean on the aero. It’s the only GT car I’ve driven, but compared to a single-seater, it handles very, very well.

“The track was just amazing - a full range of the best corners you could ask for - fast, slow, stop-go, it really tests the car and the driver. To drive the SLS AMG on such an amazing circuit - I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity, on such a fantastic day.

“It was also very interesting to work with drivers like Jack, Will and Maro - getting their view on how the car handled. It was also a good personal test for me to be able to relay what I was feeling and see how closely it related to their feedback given their experience with racing the SLS and the dynamics of racing in general.”

Whilst there’s nothing concrete in Solomon’s 2014 program for a repeat of his Zhuhai GT Asia appearance last year, his program for the forthcoming season is already starting to take shape.

“My focus for 2014 is still to pursue single-seaters, which is why we elected to do another year in FMCS with Eurasia Motorsport and go after the championship,” he explained matter-of-factly. “My school is finishing in late May, early June so I will have some pretty heavy commitments on my hands until then. After that though I would like to be able to do some more GT races if AMG China have an opportunity again, or if Erebus Motorsport GT have an opening, I would be more than honoured to rejoin the AMG Customers Sports program if the opportunity presents itself.

“For now it’s back to Sepang for another pre-season test in FMCS, then over to Italy for some testing on ice which will be an experience and I’m sure contribute something to driving a car with bulk oversteer, then it’s back into study and exams ahead of the opening FMCS just weeks before school finishes. Then, well, we’ll wait and see. There’s a few irons in the fire, a few offers from Universities to study motorsport engineering and hopefully a few options to further my career in the sport. It’s certainly going to be an interesting year!”

Craft Racing, SUPERGA, Tunewear, Sideways Driving Club, Play, Maximal Concepts, Gravity Partnership, The Chinese Timekeeper, Pangaea Creative, RacerLink, Rush Sports Marketing & Investment, LDC, Bell Racing and ORG Racing proudly support Matthew Solomon.


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