Shoot­ing from the lip

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport - Craig Lown­des

OUR team prin­ci­pal, Roland Dane, has given us the go-ahead to be con­tro­ver­sial this year. Un­for­tu­nately, I don’t have any­thing con­tro­ver­sial to say be­cause the sea­son hasn’t started.

But you can bet I will through­out the year.

The gloves will be off and we’ll be rac­ing as hard but we’re try­ing to do dif­fer­ent things with the me­dia and Roland wants us to be bru­tally hon­est about what’s hap­pen­ing within the team.

This year we have a new team struc­ture and some new peo­ple, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the team dy­namic shapes up.

Our first test will be at East­ern Creek in Syd­ney this week­end, when all the V8 Su­per­car teams will have a shake­down and fan day.

It should be spe­cial, even though we don’t race at East­ern Creek.

That should make it a neu­tral base for all the teams, no mat­ter what man­u­fac­turer or where the team is based.

We have to use the hard tyre un­til lunchtime, then in the af­ter­noon we swap to the soft tyre so we get the chance to test both set-ups on the one track.

Be­cause we are re­turn­ing this year with ba­si­cally the same car as last year, plus a few mi­nor tweaks made over the break, we will be sort­ing out the plumb­ing and work­ing on any prob­lems that arise.

There won’t be any test­ing for lap times or speed as the track is not rel­e­vant for that.

Apart from giv­ing the teams a chance to set up their cars for the year, it will also be a great op­por­tu­nity for the fans to see all the new liv­er­ies and get some au­to­graphs.

The event should at­tract a huge crowd be­cause we don’t get to Syd­ney on a per­ma­nent track through­out the year.

I’ll also be mak­ing a mental note of who is driv­ing what and the new colour schemes so I can pick them out in the rearview mir­ror.

I’m sure the driv­ers will also be happy to get in be­hind the wheel again af­ter a long break and shake out some of the cob­webs be­fore we get to Abu Dhabi in a cou­ple of weeks.

In the mean­time, I’ll get an­other hitout in the driver’s seat when I com­pete in an Audi R8 in the Bathurst 12-Hour.

I couldn’t be in a bet­ter team. The Audi Sport Team Joest is the most suc­cess­ful Le Mans team, with 11 wins un­der its belt.

Even though the car will take some get­ting used to, at least I know the track well and should make a good im­pres­sion.

Could it lead to some­thing else? Who knows?

This is a first step for me and we’ll see what we can de­liver.

Hope­fully, I can forge a re­la­tion­ship with the team that could lead to some­thing big­ger and bet­ter, such as a Le Mans 24-Hour.

Roland was good enough to al­low my race en­gi­neer, Jeromy, to come down to ob­serve the race.

It will be a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for him to see how one of the world’s great­est motorsport teams op­er­ates.

He’ll also be able a help to me in the sense that it will be a fa­mil­iar face and he may also be able to re­lay any prob­lems I have with car set-up to the other en­gi­neers.

Jeromy may also be able to give them an in­sight into how we op­er­ate in V8 Su­per­cars.

Back on track: the Bathurst 12-Hour re­turns to Mt Panorama next month.

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