NEWEST V8 TEAM LOOKS TO WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR FOR SHAKEDOWN
The 2008 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour will play host to the newest V8 Supercar licence holder Walden Motorsport when it hits the track at Mount Panorama as part of the WPS Bathurst Motor Festival over February 8-10.
Providing the perfect shakedown opportunity ahead of the V8 series' opening round in Adelaide two weeks later, Walden Motorsport will enter a Holden Commodore VZ SS to be piloted by Brian Walden, Garth Walden and Michael Auld, with many of their 'main game' crew ready to cut their teeth at the Mount Panorama endurance event.
"Heading into the opening round of the V8 series, the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour will be a great opportunity for not only Garth (who will be competing in the V8 series for Walden Motorsport) to get some extra Mount Panorama miles under his belt, but also for the crew to have a good run-down ahead of the series' opening round two weeks later," said team principal Brian Walden.
"Most of the crew will be the same as we brought to the 2007 WPS Bathurst Motor Festival, but with some new members also introduced for next year's stepped-up campaign it will be a good chance for them to gel with the rest of the crew and learn the ropes without the intense pressure.
"We learnt a lot of lessons about 12 hour endurance racing at Mount Panorama at Easter also, and I know the whole crew is looking forward to putting what we learnt into practice for a better result in 2008."
At Easter the Walden Motorsport Holden Commodore VY SS entry, piloted by the Waldens and Auld, qualified well and was the second non-turbo car at tenth on the grid and quickest in their class.
Running in the top five for the first two hours, their campaign was unfortunately brought to a premature end with a blown diff requiring continuous repair stops, losing them two hours by the time the chequered flag was flown.
"What we learnt from 2007 was to build a better diff!" laughed Brian Walden.
"Seriously though, in 2008 we will be ready, the crew have been there and know what to expect, and we will be a lot better prepared than in 2007 -- where we went in expecting it to be like the Bathurst 24 hours of old.
"The pace was a lot quicker than we expected, with many of the competitors running sprint times whereas we had expected a slower pace more aligned with the endurance mode of the longer 24 hour events which we had run in at Mount Panorama in the past with success.
"By no means were we going badly, we were running fifth afterall before the mechanical issues forced their way in. However our strategy will be changed to compensate for that quicker pace for 2008 and we are looking forward to being even more competitive this time around while at the same time having a nice relaxing weekend ahead of the V8 madness.
"I am also looking forward to suiting up with my son Garth once again, we have always talked about doing father and son racing and now at 55 as I near towards hanging up my helmet and boots we thought that we had better get to it before I was too old!"