Mounting the 2005 challenge on Bathurst GRM complete final test before heading to Australia's Great Race CAMERON McConville and Andrew Jones will return to four wheels in time for this weekend's Bathurst 1000 in...
Mounting the 2005 challenge on Bathurst
GRM complete final test before heading to Australia's Great Race
CAMERON McConville and Andrew Jones will return to four wheels in time for this weekend's Bathurst 1000 in what will be their second trip to the Mountain in a fortnight - but this time they will have GRM horsepower to play with rather than pedal power.
The duo recently rode from Melbourne to Bathurst, raising $55,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but will be back in V8 Supercar mode for the biggest race of the year as they team up in the team's #33 Repco Valvoline Cummins Commodore.
Fresh from a strong 10th place finish in the Sandown 500 that could have easily been a top six result had weather conditions turned out differently, McConville sees another strong result at Bathurst as very likely considering GRM's endurance pedigree.
"Bathurst is such a special place that a good result there can really make your entire year worthwhile even if you've struggled at other events," said McConville, who sits 13th in the championship heading to Bathurst.
"We were on target for a podium last year before we were taken out in a crash. It's the sort of race where it is vital to stay out of trouble. Too many people get carried away in the first 30 laps and make mistakes.
"They forget that it's the last 30 laps that really count."
Team-mate Jones proved his knockers wrong with a crafty drive in difficult conditions at Sandown. Despite his tender age, Jones has already had four starts at Bathurst and his championship position this year doesn't accurately reflect his pace at Mount Panorama.
"This year has been a very steep learning curve for me, but the endurance events give us a good shot of more good results," he says.
"We finished 10th at Sandown and probably could have been in the top six had we not stayed out on wet weather tyres for as long as we did. But nevertheless our car was quick. We certainly aren't favourites for Bathurst, but I think we can surprise a lot of people."
Team-mates Lee Holdsworth and Phil Scifleet finished 20th in the Sandown 500 in their debuts for GRM, the former joining the team at its pre- Bathurst test at Winton last week.
"Phil was unavailable to test as he was driving his HPDC Series car in a test in Queensland but the day went well and allowed me to become a lot more comfortable with the brakes and the car in general," said Holdsworth.
"At Sandown I wanted a better result and was expecting it. But considering what happened with the weather, the result wasn't too bad. If we can do the same sort of job at Bathurst we'll be in the top 15 and close to the top 10."
Despite missing the team's final test, Scifleet has plenty of V8 Supercar experience and will be back in action at Bathurst. He sits third in the HPDC Series and will drive in both V8 categories this weekend, as indeed will Holdsworth.
"Staying on the lead lap is a main aim for us for Bathurst because that guarantees you a strong result," said Scifleet.
"Sandown was a bit hard to accurately measure because of the mixed weather. But driving the two different V8 Supercars at Bathurst will keep me sharp for sure.
"I got back into the Falcon I drive in the HPDC Series and it was pretty different to the Commodore. It's hard to get up to speed in one or two laps as you become re-accustomed to the different cars, but that will ensure I'll be on my toes and ready for whatever happens."
McConville is lining up for his 13th start in the Bathurst 1000. He debuted in 1993 and has a best result of second in 1999 with Craig Lowndes. Co- driver Jones is making his fourth start in Australia's Great Race. He finished ninth with Scot John Cleland in 2003 and is making his first start in a Holden.
In the team's #34 car, Scifleet is lining up for his fifth Bathurst 1000 start, while Holdsworth is taking part in his second.
Practice begins at Bathurst on Thursday at 11.00am with a two-hour session for teams and drivers to get re-acquainted with the 6.213-kilometre circuit.
There will be two practice sessions on Friday before qualifying at 2.00pm. The Top 10 Shootout begins at 3.40pm on Saturday afternoon and the race starts at its traditional time - 10am - on Sunday.
Network Ten will telecast all of the action from Bathurst, beginning on Friday October 7 from 1pm to 4pm for qualifying action, Saturday October 8 from 12pm to 5pm and the race itself on Sunday October 9 from 7am to 5pm.