JB: Race Weekend Again… I Love It!

Hello All, I hope all is well in your world ... I’ve covered more miles than Burke and Wills in the last few weeks/months. Racing comes to the rural town of Benalla in Northern Victoria this weekend.

Our TCM category returns for the first time since 2010 and the V8Supercar boys came straight in after a weekend in my home state of Tasmania.

I stayed home (Melbourne that is) last weekend and raced at Sandown Raceway in the GT Championship. I raced the Maranello Motorsport prepared Ferrari 458 Italia. It was a pretty fair weekend for us, given racing this car is special, even on a bad day.

I don’t get too attached to race cars ... unless I win in them. This is the car we won the LiquiMoly Bathurst 12 Hour race in February – so the love affair continues (if you understand). We qualified on the front row, had a third and a second to give us second place for the meeting.

I share the car (with the owner) – Peter Edwards who is a relatively new comer to racing so to speak. Pete’s been racing for about four years now and he’s my star pupil. Our results shows his improvement each time we go racing... I’m a proud coach. There were some very well credentialed young drivers in the field; it made our result even more special.

Just to show off a bit a bit, I set a new race lap record on Saturday’s and bettered it in Sunday’s race ... so I think I held the new lap record for the shortest time ever ... it was in the end rolled by young Richard Muscat. Watch for his name in years to come – he’s a real good ‘en, driving with Erebus in an SLS Benz, an awesome car with massive power. Watch for the name Richard Muscat .. you heard it here first!

Looking at this weekends round of V8Supercars, the Dunlop tyre allocation will consist of soft tyres again - as it was at Symmons Plains. Winton has 13 corners where Symmons Plains has 3/5 depending on what you count as a corner! Winton’s surface is much more abrasive, showing its age I guess – a bit like some of us sadly!

That means tyre management becomes critical! In Tassie there was very little (tyre wear) because the track is smooth aggregate that was very easy on the tyres. Previously, Winton was hard on tyres before the soft tyre was introduced.

The million dollars question is who will employ the best tyre strategy management is anyone's guess? History tells us Triple Eight are masters in this area. I expect Volvo will be pretty consistent given their down force advantage and balance.

I think HRT could surprise, James Courtney has been impressive this year and Adrian Burgess known’s the Triple Eight secrets wouldn't he, given his previous role as Team Manager for the last few years. For me, it’s very hard to look past Triple Eight … as you know I have a very soft spot for the boys at DJR. I’ll spend a bit of time in their shed over the weekend.

On our way up Winton we went via Cobham to show off the new look Sally; she was a big hit with the folks in town. We gave her livery an upgrade since we need to repair the rear quarter after Clipsal. We’ve added a couple of new friends who are supporting us this year… welcome to Brian Boyd from Payce. Brian a big supporter of DJR driver David Wall, he’s a big love of cars, thank you mate.

I’ve know Joe Bennett from Penrith Air Supply for a number of years – he and his wife Judy have a couple of very nice Mustangs themselves. I spent a weekend away with Joe and his mates and his Super Snake .. what a beast of a car. Thanks for your support and love of Mustangs mate.

Our most recent addition is Warney and Barb – R & T Pumps Mackay. They’ve down this weekend to Winton, how’s that for love/support? Last time I saw Warney was our V8Race Experience ride day after the LiquiMoly Bathurst 12 Hour. He came for a ride with me … into the chase doing 240k and we blew a rear tyre, not planned! He’s up tomorrow and a ride in Sally … you gotta wonder about this fella?

As my dear friend Brad Jones always says ... back to me. Mustang Sally and I will be back at our ‘happy hunting ground’ for the first time since 2010. We’ve always done well here ... in 2010 I set the new lap record ... it will be interesting to see how much Sally’s improved. Notice, it’s about the car getting better – I take the credit if we jag a new lap record but it’s up to Sally to get it done – haha!

We have a few new cars debuting in the TCM category this weekend, it should be really interesting. I was happy with our pace at Clipsal, we have a new rolling start format that’s quite spectacular when you see the field travelling at 80kph. When the front cars hit the go zone it’s on, the sound of 25 plus V8 Muscle Cars is sensational.

If you can’t make it, you can catch us on Channel 7’s Sunday coverage. They generally show our second race which is the top 50% of Saturday placings reversed. There is usually plenty of action, given it’s a rolling start and quite a small little circuit.

Now, if you miss keep an eye on my facebook (that’s right) I’m right up on new technology. We post my in car camera video (thanks to VBOX Australia). This weekend we have upgraded our High Definition system to include lap times and a heap of secret squirrel information. That I do understand.

Cheers, JB

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