TROY BAYLISS AND BEN COLLINS TEST JACK DANIEL'S RACING HOLDEN COMMODORE AT WINTON
Three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss has tested a Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore at Winton Motor Raceway under the watchful eye of former Bathurst winners Todd and Rick Kelly.
Bayliss, who retired from full-time motorcycle competition at the end of last season on a winning note, tested with Jack Daniel's Racing on the team's Driver Evaluation Day at the rural Victorian venue.
Bayliss, who has tested for two other V8 Supercar teams previously this season, adapted well to the Rick Kelly's #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore -- the car that currently lies eighth in the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series standings.
British sportscar driver and endurance specialist Ben Collins also tested for Jack Daniel's Racing at the 3.0-kilometre circuit today. Collins was confirmed as one of the team's endurance drivers for the Phillip Island and Bathurst events last month.
Nathan Pretty, who will partner Collins aboard the #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, also drove as part of today's on-track activities.
Kelly Racing endurance driver and six-time Australian Sports Sedan Champion Tony Ricciardello also drove laps at Winton.
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
Troy Bayliss -- Three-time World Superbike Champion:
"It was a great experience," said Troy Bayliss.
"I came along yesterday and went and had a look at the Kelly Racing set-up and it's a great facility. It's on par with the best that I've seen, that's for sure.
"They've done a great job. The guys asked me along to come and do a few laps and it's nice because it's been a long time since I've been at Winton. It was 1997 on a Superbike.
"I really enjoyed driving the Jack Daniel's Commodore today and it's actually my first time with a lot of other cars out on the track.
"I haven't done much in the V8 at all so it was a good experience today.
"By the second stint out there it was not looking so bad and I felt OK. I'm feeling 'not too bad' in the car.
"Everybody knows what I really want to do. I'm chasing that next step in my career. I'd loved to be involved in the V8s, whether it's in the main game or as a Development driver.
"There are so many young guys who probably want to be world champions in their future, but I'm not thinking of being a world champion anymore. I'd love to be in the main game and I'd love to win some races.
"But also I'd love to do the enduros and of course Bathurst is a very big race and something that I've been watching for many years. I'd love to take part in that race and do well in it."
Ben Collins -- Endurance Driver, #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It's been a fantastic day and I'm over the moon to be signed with Kelly Racing to drive the Jack Daniel's Commodore," said Ben Collins.
"I'm getting used to it all -- the team, the drivers, everything. It's a very friendly team so I've felt very welcome straight away, which is a good start to the whole process.
"I'm just getting used to a V8 Superar again. In February I had a few laps with HRT so I'm just remembering how these cars want to be driven. It's very different to how we race in Europe.
"These cars and events are very unique. There is a very disciplined way of driving these cars on the throttle. It takes a lot to get used to the braking points and that kind of thing, but primarily it's the throttle. So it's just a matter of training my foot to weigh a little bit less and to be more progressive.
"Even in the first few laps, it's reasonably quick, but to get on the pace it's just a matter of fine tuning it all and making sure I'm in the right place mentally for the endurance races. It's all going well so far."
Rick Kelly -- Driver, #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore:
"It was an exciting test day," said Rick Kelly.
"We've had our head buried in the set-up and development side of things, trying to get to the front of the field as quickly as we can.
"It's been a busy start to the year, so it's a breath of fresh air when you can come to a track like this and allow talents like Troy Bayliss and Ben Collins the opportunity to jump in a Jack Daniel's Commodore.
"It's a breath of fresh air to see them jump out of the car with a smile on their face. You forget how much fun it is to drive a V8 Supercar sometimes with how serious the business gets."