JB: Winter in the Far North Queensland … is Appealing
Townsville put on an awesome weekend's racing. JB drove the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 (winner of the LiquiMoly Bathurst 12 Hour) with the talented Tony D'Alberto who's raced Townsville previously in V8Supercars.
There's such a good vibe over the weekend, Palmer Street (the restaurant strip) had a great buzz, we had a few dinners there over the weekend. If you caught the TV coverage it showed Townsville's best aspect. The vision from the chopper from Magnetic Island, over town to the circuit - how could you not enjoy racing in the environment?
The GT Championship was JB's first Townsville drive - I think he liked the circuit it. He'll tell you, anytime you go well at a circuit you look at it fondly such was the Townsville with the Ferrari boys. Three practise sessions on Friday had JB working/sorting/understanding the circuit ... then it's a matter of getting a time out of it.
Race one was early Saturday - JB started, a few laps in and he had a left rear puncture, he's pits. A quick change and JB down the pit lane as he exits he’s about to go down a lap, the racer in him his flashes left to get on the back of the leaders - only to be called for a drive thru - crossing the Blend Line on exit. A rookie mistake says JB ... a change and Tony D'Alberto bring the 458 home in 17th position. A three car crash after Tony was in the seat ... so no time to improve track position … focus is on tomorrow’s race.
Sunday morning and Tony starts in 17th position, he's mowing them down like they were stopped. An amazing display of talent and he hands over to JB who rejoins the field in fourth spot. JB puts his head down and continues the chase, picking them off. Sadly Klark Quinn’s McLaren has a small onboard fire and as JB draws closer to race leader Richard Muscat in the Erebus SLS Benz ... Richard has a lose and JB takes the lead .. and drive away from the field to be greeted by a very excited Maranello Motorsport team.
Race three had JB starting on the front row, next to the Erebus SLS with a rolling started, he is out gunned for grunt by the Benz and the McLaren of Klark Quinn in the turn two. Again, with his head down he passed both cars and drives off the front setting a new race lap record in the process. He hands over to Tony D'A with an eight second lead, after the longest (seeded penalty pit stop/driver change) Tony D was 11.5 sec in arrears of the Muscat in the Erebus Benz. We witness another very slick drive from Tony who brought the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari home in second a tickle over 4 seconds behind Richard Muscat to claim third place for the weekend.
A great weekend, awesome racing in a place you'd want to be in winter, shorts (for some) a tee shirt and 25 degrees? If that sounds like you .. join us in Townsville in 2015. Since heading home some of JB's comments touched a chord with the locals and there's a push to have Touring Car Masters on the program in Townsville next year. JB spoke with TCM Director Tony Hunter who's thrown his weight behind the move. The Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill is keen to talk to V8Supercars CEO James Warburton and ask that TCM be at Townsville next year.
The folk in Townsville are super keen to see TCM in FNQ in 2015 and have started a facebook page. Interestingly, in just a few days they have over 800 people like their page - can we ask you take the link and show your support for TCM to be on the Townsville 500 program in 2015 - https://www.facebook.com/bringtcmtotownsville
The next few weeks are busy ... JB/Mustang Sally and the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 will be at the best Car Custom/Hot Rod Show - Meguiar's MotorEx http://www.motorex.com.au/ Seriously folks, this is an outstanding show - should you be in Melbourne next weekend, be sure to add it to your list of things to do. Racing brings JB back to Sydney in August (22/24th Aug) @ Sydney Motorsport Park, he'll have double driving duties in Mustang Sally and the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari.
We hope to see you soon.