While England will take on the Australian Wallabies in this weekend's Rugby World Cup Final, British GT ace Martin Short has his sights set on recording another victory for the British fans at this weekend's Bathurst 24 Hour. Short finished 2nd...
While England will take on the Australian Wallabies in this weekend's Rugby World Cup Final, British GT ace Martin Short has his sights set on recording another victory for the British fans at this weekend's Bathurst 24 Hour.
Short finished 2nd in last year's inaugural event and will drive a Mosler with Patrick Pearce, Charles Lamb and kiwi female racer, Heather Spurle in this week's Mount Panorama event.
Short's Rollcentre Racing squad took this year's British GT Championship with driver Tom Herridge.
Herridge and Short also teamed up to win final the final two rounds of the 2003 championship including the Spa 1000kms.
"All of us have experience of the endurance events, Heather even holds 24 hour production car records, but we are a private self financing team running against some very highly financed and polished teams and drivers," Short said.
"We will have to rely on others dropping the ball rather than us taking the fight to them, but we will push them harder than before.
"We will run harder with the benefit of knowing that the car has already done a number of 24 hour races, this one finished third at the Daytona 24 this year, and won the Spa 1000kms."
While Short was unable to chase down last year's winning Holden Monaro in the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour, the British ace does not believe the local favorites are going to have things their own way despite having a straight line speed advantage.
"Two Monaros will always be harder than one, but then again it won't be quite the breeze it should have been for them last year," Short said.
"I remember that yellow behemoth hurtling past me down the conrod straight, tucking in his slipstream and seeing another 10k's down the straight! That car just left us for dead!
"The Ferrari fresh from Le Mans 1000k's success will be very fast, and the BMW will be an interesting addition.
"I raced against that car in Phoenix, Arizona in the US this year and it was an amzingly competent car, and could well be the dark horse despite it being a latecomer."
Built in the USA, the Mosler MT900R has been the dominant car for this year's British GT Championship, taking the top three point scoring finishes.
Short himself finished 7th in the championship despite missing two races. The talented Englishman also drove a Reynard prototype in the recent Le Mans 1000km in France.
"As soon as I saw this car I knew it was the one," Short said.
"Love at first sight, simplicity and form. We have worked hard on the development of the car in conjunction with Mosler in the US, and it now handles better and uses its tyres up.
"Last year we could have literally run the whole race on one set of tyres. The tyre wear - hence grip - was so low. I expect my tyre bill to be a lot worse this year, and hopefully our lap times improved!"
Although describing himself as "not the world's biggest rugby fan", Short will still be lending his support to the English battle against the Wallabies on Saturday night during the Bathurst 24 Hour.
"I have just watched England pound the French, and there will now be the great final that everybody hoped for, England against the Aussies," Short said.
"I think England will give the Aussies a good bashing there, and I hope we will do the same!"
The Channel Seven television network in Australia will devote more than seven hours live coverage to the race, mixed with its telecast on Saturday night of the Rugby World Cup final match, which will be watched by fans on two giant screens at the top and bottom of Mount Panorama.
Tickets to the Bathurst 24-Hour are on sale from $32 for adults through Ticketmaster7, on ph. 1300 136 122 or www.ticketmaster7.com.au.