Developing a new racing car is an extremely challenging task. Especially when you’re building on a car such as successful as the existing ŠKODA FABIA Rally2, which was based on the third generation of the production FABIA. The new rally car is derived from the fourth generation FABIA and is designed to surpass the high bar set by the previous model.
Test drivers obviously play a very important role in achieving this goal. Drivers - Jan Kopecký, Andreas Mikkelsen, Kris Meeke and Emil Lindholm – and their navigators – have been working on the development of the new ŠKODA FABIA Rally2. These experienced drivers are familiar with the Czech carmakers’ existing racing cars, as well as other brands’ models. Experience plays a crucial role in the development of a racing car.
“There are drivers who are very fast but can’t tell you much about the car. We need people like that to really push the car to the limit, but it’s drivers and crews who can provide effective feedback and see eye to eye with the engineers who play the most important role in development,” says Aleš Rada, the racing car’s technical coordinator.
This wealth of experience and ability to communicate allows drivers and engineers to work together to fine-tune the car and test it under different conditions. “In addition, it is important to remember that we are developing the car for a wide range of customers. Our project has over 450 cars worldwide and the aim is to make their drivers feel good in the new car. Better than in the existing one,” explains Rada. “So we sometimes rope in some drivers who don’t normally work with us on development,” he adds.