Racing to help out
IMUSED to people pumping fuel into my race car, but I’ve been the one playing pit crew for some of my neighbours up here in floodbound Kilcoy over the past few days.
was away in Melbourne with the family visiting Dad when the floods hit. We got back last Saturday and ever since I’ve been cleaning up the mess, helping neighbours transport vehicles over washed-out gullies and bridges and getting petrol. The town has almost run out, with all the generators running to keep power going. It’s been a sad start to the year. Some of the V8 Supercar drivers,
’ race teams and staff have helped with the Mates in Need Street Party on the Gold Coast to raise money for those affected, many of whom are avid V8 supporters.
It was great to see a lot of other sportspeople contributing manpower to the clean-up and keeping the morale up. But it was devastating to hear Peter Champion’s museum of Brock race cars at Yeppoon is closing because of the floods’ effect on the state’s tourism industry.
Peter’s done a wonderful job resurrecting Brocky’s cars and historical memorabilia, and displaying them in a single area. I spoke to him at Homebush at the last round and he was thinking of relocating. I hope he does.
From a team perspective, the floods have had little effect. We had no floodwaters at the Banyo workshop and minimal disruption to staff.
Our first outing is at Eastern Creek next weekend for the mandatory test day for all V8 teams. It’s a track I love and it’s a real shame we don’t have it on our race calendar anymore.
But that makes it the perfect neutral place for the teams to test and for the fans to have their first look at the cars’ new livery and driver line-ups.
Usually there’s a bit of change with drivers moving between teams in the off-season, but this time there has been a team merry-go-round, mainly among race engineers.
Happily, I still have Jeromy Moore as my race engineer and while teams such as DJR have been broken up, ours is intact. We’ve even expanded, with Williams F1 engineer John Russell now heading the team.
Race engineers change teams with the drivers because you develop an important relationship and bond. I would want to take my engineer with me, as Valentino Rossi did with Jeremy Burgess. It’s like a marriage.
Most of my planning is going into the Bathurst 12 Hour race next month. We don’t get to test the Audi R8 race car before the event, so we’ll go to Bathurst and try to get to know the car and its traits as quickly as possible.
New-look Ingall: Russell Ingall has a new livery for the 2011 V8 Supercar season. The Enforcer’s campaign fires up in Abu Dhabi on February 11-12.