The wait is over… endurance season has arrived, and we kick it off with the Sandown 500 this weekend.
We welcome back Warren Luff and Jack Perkins to the team for their first race of 2017, with Luffy teaming up with Scott Pye for the first time, and Jacko back with his partner in crime, James Courtney, for a third year.
Endurance season has been a strong point for the team in the past, heading into the Sandown 500 as the reigning champions, but it’s important to continue to focus on the development process we have undertaken with the cars of late.
500kms, 161 laps, two drivers, three compulsory stops. That’s the equation for Sunday.
It’s a race that puts everything under the microscope. What happens strategy wise and in pit lane can have as much of an impact as the car speed on track does.
Before we get there though, we have the unique ‘race to the grid’ on Saturday.
There will be a 20-minute qualifying session on Saturday, which determines the grid for a 20-lap co-driver race.
Wherever the co-driver finishes that 60km race determines the grid for the 20-lap main driver race.
Wherever JC and Scotty finish that one, is where they start the 500km race on Sunday.
It makes for some pretty exciting racing!
JC will return to chassis 22 this weekend, which was the chassis that was damaged at Symmons Plains, Tasmania, earlier in the year.
The boys have done a great job fixing it up, and getting it race ready between rounds.
All running will be on the soft tyre this weekend, although, looking at the forecast, the wets look like they will be needed.
The boys hit the track Friday morning, for the first of three practice sessions.
“Typically, the enduros has been a great time of year for this team in the past, so it’s really exciting to get stuck in. Having Luffy alongside me makes it even more exciting, especially as he defends his win last year, so we will be doing our best to get car 2 on the podium.”
“Recently the momentum has been starting to build. It’s now about increasing that over the next three events with Luffy beside me.
“I can’t wait for you all to see the livery this evening, it’s something that as a driver, is a huge privilege to drive such an iconic car for such an iconic brand this time of year.”
“It’s fantastic to be back in action officially this weekend. I’ve had a bit of seat time recently with our two test days and the session at Queensland Raceway, but there is nothing like a race weekend.
“I’m really excited to be teaming up with Scotty this year. We’ve worked well together so far this year, and I’m looking forward to extending that relationship over the next three rounds.
“Obviously we had a pretty good weekend here last year, taking out the win. It would be nice to be on the podium again, but for us it’s about continuing that progression and momentum the guys have built.
“I can’t wait for you guys to see the livery tonight, the thing looks incredible!”
“It’s great to be back at enduro season, everyone goes to another level this time of year.
“Having Jack again is a bonus. We work really well together, and have a lot of similarities in the car.
“Our focus is to keep working on the development of the car, taking steps forwards like we have been.
“To have the 2007 HSV Dealer Team livery on the car this weekend is pretty cool; that car was a rocket ship back in the day.”
“It’s great to be back.
“This is a great time of year. The boys haven’t had the year they had hoped, but endurance season is a great time to turn it around.
“Our cars usually go pretty well this time of year, especially at Sandown, so I’m excited to be back out there.
“I’m really happy to be back with my mate JC in the car again, with a championship winning livery on the car.
“The key to this weekend is to make no mistakes, and aim for that top 10. It’s endurance season, so anything can happen, but if we aim for that, we can bank some valuable points for the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.”