The differences in the car's setup this time is as follows:
LSD: Factory viscous (previous) >>> Nismo 1.5 way (new)
Front tyres: Yokohama A050 medium 255/40R17 (previous) >>> Hankook Z221 soft 265/35R18 (new)
Front brake pads: Project Mu Type HC+ (previous) >>> Ferodo DS2500 (new)
The morning sessions were wet, quite wet. The weather forecast for the day was rain, easing in the evening. The rain wasn't particularly heavy, but it didn't look good for the rest of the day as it constantly fell in the morning. This led to very scary sessions, flying around the track with the wipers on; with other guys with bigger balls or no sense of life preservation (or both) flying past me on the straights and mid corner. This was confidence shattering and I was tentative getting on the throttle out of corners. I had a couple of separate close-call incidents including getting a little sideways at the kink at Hayshed and locking the brakes and pushing straight off the track going downhill into MG. Very luckily, I caught the car both times.
The morning sessions resulted in the following times and me tucked up in the fetal position in my camping chair in the pit garage.
2:52.6777 2:22.2164 2:18.7393
2:23.7090 2:25.2343 2:26.4003
2:27.5631 2:19.1431 2:39.3178
After lunch, the rain cleared and there were hints of blue sky coming through the clouds. Jim and Kam came in from their session saying the track was dry and it felt good again. They coaxed me out of my state of paralysis and urged me to go out on track again. I summoned up my courage and went out a few more times and managed to clock a 1:56 for the day, 2 seconds off my PB.
2:00.8560 2:01.7158 2:03.3368
1:57.8846 1:56.6356 1:57.8540
1:58.2481 1:59.6975 1:58.5290
Looking at the speed comparison between my 1:54.59 (green) and 1:56.64 (red) laps, I found that the main difference was on the straight and turn 1. I wasn't as fast as my PB lap because I only managed to reach 215 kph and was slower through turn 1, probably due to my confidence level not being the norm; leading to tentative throttle out of turn 12 and over braking for turn 1.
What's interesting is that my speeds for the rest of the track was actually faster with the 1:56 lap, as can be send below (1:56 on the right). Most noticeably, my top speed out of Stoner corner was faster and I slowed down less at Siberia and MG. Could this be attributed to the new track surface providing more grip? Or also the new tyres?
At the end of the day I was disappointed that I had lost some feeling for driving close to the limit at Phillip Island, but I was glad I was driving home in one piece. I'm now keen to get back there again. Thanks again to Jim and Kam for the company and support.