IMAGINE heading into the Bathurst 1000 as a back-to-back winner but without a drive secured for a chance to win it a third time in a row.
That is the situation for two-time Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winning driver Darryl O’Young, who all but 30 days out of the 2013 race is on the sidelines trying to find a ride that can take him to the hat-trick.
A lengthy stint in challenging – often torrential – conditions during the 2012 race showcased his class and ability and places him as one of the very best to take on the ever-growing around-the-clock Bathurst enduro.
Those two victories have firmly entrenched the Mountain in the Canadian-born, Hong Kong drivers’ list of top racing experiences – and it’s an experience he is keen to repeat.
“It’s amongst the top three of my personal racing accomplishments,” O’Young said.
“The memory of the race will stay with me forever. To win it two times in a row was an amazing feeling, something that solidified our mark on the race. When you go there for the first time, you don’t expect to be in the position to win the race.”
Audi elected to not return with their fully-blown factory operation this year – instead up to six privately entered Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars will compete in the February 8-10 weekend.
However, that means a chance for the two-time winner to make it three in a row is – at the moment – on hold.
But that doesn’t mean O’Young wouldn’t love to join the likes of Brock, Whincup and Lowndes to win three major Bathurst endurance races in a row – and the first to do it in the 12 Hour.
“Unfortunately, I’m not confirmed yet,” he explained. “With Audi not coming back as a factory I was looking close to a deal with Craft Racing AMR from Hong Kong, but due to logistics, the team elected not to enter in 2013.
“I’m hoping an opportunity can come up for me, as it would be really disappointing to not have the chance to come back and attempt three in a row – fingers crossed I can find an opportunity to be back!”
O’Young says the Liqui-Moly 12 Hour has a real chance of becoming one of the world’s great endurance races, given its rapid growth already experienced since the move to include GT vehicles three years ago.
“This circuit is epic, which is the key part in creating a recognized endurance race,” he explains.
“I’ve competed in nearly all the major endurance races around the world and I know the Bathurst 12 Hour has what it takes to become a classic race. The momentum has picked up year after year, the organizers have given the event huge coverage, so it’s just a matter of getting the word out there and having more teams make the trip over to Australia.
“From my first hand experience, it is already great competitive racing and that is the most important.”
Naturally, the 6.213km of fast, uncompromising bitumen that makes up the Mountain circuit helps the experience...
“The top of the mountain is definitely my favorite section of the track. To get it perfect is an amazing feeling that requires full commitment and confidence.
“The feeling is immense when your car slides right out the wall at nearly 200km/h, but before you have time to think about that, you’re already setting yourself up for the next blind corner.
Only when you get to the Conrod Straight can you breath a sigh of relief until you head back up the mountain again on the next lap.
“It’s a lot of fun!”
Bathurst 12 Hour