Hi all, and welcome to my third Rookie's Corner column for TMR. I’m home now after the third round of the 2011 Fujitsu series at Townsville, and what an event it was.
To kick the weekend off, instead of flying to Townsville the team decided to do a road trip from the Gold Coast to Townsville. On top of it being a bit of a team-building exercise, we also tied in visits to our sponsors along the way.
In tow we had the transporter, two V8 Supercars, our two ‘showcars’ and our simulator trailer – quite a convoy!
We had a lot of fun over the couple of days and spent most nights sitting around the camp fire putting bets on where we were going to finish in Townsville, who was going to have the least panel damage after the weekend, and seeing what time our boss Milo would actually get out of bed in the morning.
When we finally arrived in Townsville, I thought we were in heaven - a beautiful 28 degrees greeted us, which was so much better than the 10 degrees we left back in Brisbane. Straight away, I thought if we have a good or bad weekend at least it was worth coming to thaw out.
Having run at Townsville last year in a Formula Ford was a massive bonus when it came to finally getting out on the track and getting some laps under my belt. Although the layout was familiar there were plenty of differences and new sensations I had to quickly become accustomed to.
The first big difference I noticed was the straight-line speed of the V8 Supercar over the little four-cylinder Formula Ford, and because you’re going so much faster you have to start braking so much earlier, so all of my old braking markers had to be forgotten and new ones found.
Probably the weirdest feeling I had to adjust to was the massive amounts of body roll in a V8 Supercar compared to the Formula Ford, which pretty much sits flat on the track - once I got my head around those differences I started posting some more consistent times.
Thanks to the reverse-grid rules this weekend, finishing tenth in race one meant that I would start off on pole for race two. Now you might think I’d be pumped about this but to be honest, it was actually a little bit nerve-wracking.
That said, it was an awesome feeling once I rocked up to the line to see clear track in front of me.
The plan was to get a decent start and make sure I get through turn one in one piece - but it never goes to plan! These over-powered heavy beasts are tricky to get off the line successfully – just ask Jamie Whincup or Craig Lowndes who still struggle with it today!
I’d managed to make the worst start ever, and by the time I got to turn one I was back in sixth place - in the thick of the pushing, shoving and bumping. Luckily, I made it through in one piece, which is the main thing. From there it was a matter of holding position and bagging some points.
Although we didn’t have the greatest of weekends results-wise, it was still good for our championship position keeping us in eighth for the series.
More importantly, the weekend highlighted areas we need to work on. In particular, we need to get our cars to look after our rear tyres more over race distance, and we also need to sort a little glitch in our gearbox which is making it tough to change gears consistently – and in my case we also need to work on some practice starts!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my column about my life as a rookie in V8 Supercar game (hopefully still on the road to bigger and better things!) and that you'll continue reading and following me for the rest of the season and beyond.
# 10 simPRO Racing Falcon
Townsville Qualifying and race results:
Q: 17th | R1: 10th | R2: 10th | R3: 13th