Paul Morris undertakes big logistical operation for Bathurst

Paul Morris' Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore team is taking the most equipment and manpower it has ever assembled for one race to Mount Panorama this month for the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Championship event Morris said his bid...

Paul Morris' Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore team is taking the most equipment and manpower it has ever assembled for one race to Mount Panorama this month for the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Championship event

Morris said his bid to win Australia's 'Great Race' for the first time was being supported by the biggest logistical operation undertaken by his Gold Coast-based team since it commenced operations in 1999.

"There will be two transporters full of cars and gear, plus more than 20 people," he said.

"We're throwing everything we've got at it because this is the biggest race of the season and the one everyone wants to win."

"There are two races in Australia that stop the nation -- one is the Melbourne Cup and the other is Bathurst. We're not going to win the Melbourne Cup, so that leaves Bathurst."

"We've left nothing to chance in our preparation to give ourselves the best possible shot at it."

"The investment of time and money is worth every cent if you win because V8 Supercars are on a high in terms of popularity, and with (Peter) Brock making a comeback this could be the biggest Bathurst of all-time for crowds and television ratings."

"It's not been a good season so far for us, but you can turn it into a fantastic year if you win Bathurst. We can't wait to get up there and get stuck into it."

Morris, whose best previous Bathurst result was finishing third with Mark Skaife in a Holden Racing Team Commodore in 1999, is contesting this year's 161-lap race around the Mount Panorama circuit on October 13 with Brisbane driver Wayne Wakefield

The team's equipment at Bathurst will include two $300,000 VX Holden Commodores, one for the 1000km endurance event, and the other to be raced by Wakefield in the 30-lap race for Konica Series cars on October 12.

The two purpose-built Paul Morris Motorsports transporters will arrive at Bathurst containing three 'spare' engines, valued at $80,000 each, plus gearboxes, differentials, two complete suspensions, 40 wheels, wheel-changing, machining, and refuelling equipment, a carbon-fibre set-up flat-patch, body panels, tools, and other components.

There is also a separate team bus for driver briefings and business meetings, and it is equipped with catering and hospitality facilities for the team and sponsors.

"Bathurst is a huge logistical exercise," said Morris. "You have to be able to cope with every situation regarding maintaining and possibly repairing the car at short notice. Our planning has been aimed to try and cover all the bases."

The team will have 23 personnel at Bathurst, the highest number for any race this year, comprising Morris and Wakefield, sporting and commercial management, engine, suspension, and tyre technicians, mechanics, and catering and media staff.

Morris, who won the Calder Park round of the 2001 championship, tested his race car for the final time before Bathurst with a session at Queensland Raceway near Ipswich on October 1.

"We did a thorough systems check through all aspects of the car and I'm confident we will have a package that is fast and strong enough to go the distance," he said.

Morris said his team had spent extensive time practising simulated wheel and driver changes in preparation for a minimum of four pit stops during the race. The wheel changes will be performed by Marc Lawrence, Jim Hewlett, David Harvey, and Paul McQuay.

"Everyone says these endurance races can be won or lost in the pits and it's true," said Morris.

"You've got to be ready to go in the pits at any time in case there's a Safety Car, or a change in the weather. You can't plan for these situations, and the teams who adapt best are going to have a big advantage."

"We have a general plan and strategy worked out, but at the end of the day you have to go with the flow of the race."

"Bathurst is all about looking after the car and staying on the lead lap, and then being able to push hard over the last part of the race. If you can do all that then you're going to be around the 'pointy end' of the field."

Wakefield, who has driven in selected championship rounds this year, said he would benefit from racing in the Konica Series event at Bathurst, which he won in 2001.

"I've done some of the V8 races this year, but not all of them," said Wakefield. "I'm a little short of 'race miles' compared to the drivers who've done the whole championship so the Konica event will be good to sharpen me up for the 'big one' the next day."

"Paul (Morris) and his team have given me plenty of testing time in the car during the year and things have gone really well. Now we've got to put it together on the day. This is a big opportunity for me and I'm keen to do well."

After nine rounds of the championship Skaife leads the series with 1,775 points, followed by Holden Racing Team team-mate Jason Bright on 1,096, and Kmart Commodore racer Greg Murphy 1,058. Skaife won the Bathurst race in 2001 with Tony Longhurst.

SIRROMET WINES PLANS MAJOR MARKETING PUSH AT BATHURST

Sirromet Wines, principal sponsor of Paul Morris Motorsports, is planning a major marketing push for its award-winning products at Bathurst during the race week for the Bob Jane T-Marts V8 Supercar 1000.

The Queensland-based winery is organising product displays and wine tastings in Bathurst, with the Knickerbocker Hotel in William Street among the confirmed venues. A total of 64 cases of wine is being despatched to Bathurst in the team's transporter for the various activities.

Sirromet Wines opened in mid-2000 and is located at Mount Cotton, south-east of Brisbane. The winery has won 65 awards for its range of wines. This year Sirromet is producing 1.2-million bottles, and this figure will increase to 1.7-million in 2003. Sirromet was also official wine supplier at the V.I.P. Petfoods Queensland 500 V8 Supercar race in September.

-www.paulmorris.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Marc Lawrence , Paul Morris , Tony Longhurst , Bob Jane , Wayne Wakefield
Teams Holden Racing Team