Sirromet Wines Commodore ready for comeback.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25: Paul Morris' Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore has undergone extensive repairs in the past month in preparation for his comeback to the V8 Supercar Championship at the Sandown circuit in Melbourne this weekend.
The left-front of the 600-horsepower VX Commodore was damaged when Morris crashed while holding seventh position in the final stages of the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 on October 13.
Morris then missed the following two rounds, the Honda Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise and the Boost Mobile V8 International in New Zealand, because the grids were restricted to 32 cars and his championship position was not sufficient to secure a start.
During the break the Gold Coast-based Paul Morris Motorsports team completeed all necessary repairs to the car and conducted a thorough on-track test at Queensland Raceway on November 21 in preparation for the final championship round at Sandown, the two-race Betta Electrical V8 Ultimate.
"Obviously we were disappointed we didn't race at 'Indy' and in New Zealand, but the break gave us extra time to get the car spot-on for Sandown," said Morris.
"There was a fair bit of damage to the chassis because the car went into the wall at Bathurst quite hard. We've done a lot of work since then, and the car had good speed when we gave it a shakedown last week at Queensland Raceway."
This year's Sandown round comprises a 150km race on Saturday, with one compulsory pit-stop, and a 300km event the following day with two mandatory pit-stops. In 2001 Sandown's round had three races, and Morris finished fifth in the final event in wet weather.
"Horsepower is the most important thing at Sandown with those two long straights, along with getting the power down," said Morris. "It's one place where you want to qualify well because there's always the potential for drama when everyone gets to Turn One, so you don't want to be starting mid-field."
Morris' team, which is located at the Holden Performance Driving Centre, has also been busy building the new 'in-house' VY Commodore it will campaign next year. The bodyshell and rollcage have been completed, along with suspension and drive-line components.
"Things are progressing well, both with the car and our engine development programme," said Morris. "Like everyone else we're waiting on the 'specs' for the new 'aero-kit' once that's finalised."
Mark Skaife leads the championship with 2,064 points in a Holden Racing Team Commodore, followed by Kmart Commodore driver Greg Murphy on 1,403. Skaife's team-mate Jason Bright is third on 1,396 points. Skaife has already clinched this year's title.