8th November 1998 IRON MEN SET TO SWAP THE OCEAN WAVES FOR THE MOUNTAIN
Iron Man legends Grant Kenny and Guy Andrews are no stranger to fierce competition, but the rises, twists and turns of Mount Panorama will present a different challenge when they line up in the 3-Hour Bathurst Showroom Showdown next week.
The race driving "rookies" have acquitted themselves in their GT Production debuts in 1998, Kenny sharing a Class B Subaru Impreza WRX with Scott Jacob at Sandown, and Andrews driving the Ford Falcon XR8 EL media car at the Lakeside round of the championship.
Kenny will again be behind the wheel of the WRX at Bathurst, while Andrews will drive the new Ford Falcon XR6 AU machine with AFL media star Sam Newman. Both however, realise the mountain will not be easy to tame.
"The circuit is obviously going to be a challenge because I have never driven around it at speed before, but it is a challenge I am looking forward to," Kenny said.
"New tracks are a bit like coping with different ocean conditions in Iron Men competitions, the conditions are the same for everybody, so you have to simply adapt the best you can.
"My main aim is to get plenty of laps in during practice and qualifying and try to get myself up to speed more quickly.
"I have generally raced much faster than I have going in qualifying - I do love a race … whether it be on the racetrack, or out in the ocean.
"But obviously you have to look after the car during a three hour race, particularly as Bathurst is so unforgiving and these cars are straight off the showroom floor and are not really engineered to be driven that hard for that long."
Andrews will look to his mentor, V8 Supercar star Tony Longhurst, for guidance as to how best to make his way around Mount Panorama.
"I've never missed a Bathurst race on television, but I have never actually been to the place, so it is going to be a huge challenge," Andrews said.
"Tony has told me so much about the place and he is keen to help me throughout the weekend to get me up to speed.
"I'll be aiming to get the most out of myself and try to be on the pace of the leaders by the end of the weekend.
"Class C is going to be very competitive so Sam (Newman) and I have a big job ahead of us.
"The important thing is going to be to bring the car home in one piece. It is no use going too hard too early and breaking the car or sticking the thing into the fence."
With a capacity 55 car field, next weekend's 3-Hour Bathurst Showroom Showdown will be telecast live by Network Ten throughout Australia.