Bathurst 1000: Jack Daniel's Racing preview

SEVEN FACTORS TO WATCH AT BATHURST See below SEVEN factors that will be crucial to the performance of the ...


See below SEVEN factors that will be crucial to the performance of the #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore and the rest of the V8 Supercar field at this year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, as explained by seven team members from Jack Daniel's Racing.

Brothers Todd and Rick Kelly will team up aboard the #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore for the biggest race of the season, only the second time that the pair has driven together at Bathurst.

Last time the brothers from Mildura drove together they finished a close second to Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup in 2006.

This year, the Kellys will race at Mount Panorama in their own new-for-2009 team and with their qualifying race win and fifth place finish at Phillip Island, the #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore is one of the leading contenders heading into this year's Great Race.

Also see below in this media release facts and statistical information for Jack Daniel's Racing drivers Todd Kelly, Rick Kelly, Nathan Pretty and Ben Collins ahead of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 8-11.


RELIABILITY -- John Moore, Jack Daniel's Racing No. 1 Mechanic:

"Just like in the lead-up to a normal Sprint round, you do the basic general inspection over the suspension joints and things like that," said John Moore.

"But for Bathurst, what I like to do is completely rebuild the car. Pull everything off, send a lot of things away to get crack tested and fully service all components.

"Any bolts, any nuts, anything that looks a bit suspect, we just replace. It's not worth the risk when a $2 part can lose you the race. Attention to detail is a major priority.

"On the Friday or the Saturday night, depending on whether you are in the Top 10 Shootout or not, we have a scheduled engine change, gearbox change, tailshaft change, and anything else that we try to keep low kilometres on.

"But we don't start the race with brand new parts on the car. We like to do everything on the Saturday night and test everything on the Sunday warm-up and check that everything is alright before the race.

"You don't want to throw anything on the car just before the race. You want to give every new part at least one or two sessions just to make sure it's going to last and that it doesn't have any problems, just so you can be confident it can last the race.

"A strong, reliable car is what you need to win races, especially Bathurst."

PIT STOPS -- Michael Rampal, Jack Daniel's Racing No. 2 Mechanic:

"There should be six pit stops for each car at Bathurst this year with the new E85 fuel, with the cars burning more fuel we will have more pit stops," said Michael Rampal.

"The big thing for Bathurst is that it's not just as simple as putting a wheel on and putting your hand up. Everyone will have more than one role during a pit stop.

"The rear wheel guys will be worried about any crash damage that might need to be fixed, putting the rear wheels on, then helping the guys on the front wheels with their brake pad/rotor change and also things like cleaning the windscreen and being aware with what's going on with the fuel.

"Depending on where we are at in the race, the fuel stop could be a quick splash or a full fuel load, which could take as long as 30 to 35 seconds to fill the fuel tank.

"We take a little bit more time on the wheel changes at Bathurst, rather than focusing on being really quick, because you have got around 30 seconds in a full stop at Bathurst because that's how long the fuel will take.

"So while we're used to changing wheels is under eight seconds, we all know we have got more time so you could do things like start the nut with your hand to get the thread right, just to make sure you don't make any mistakes.

"The time in the pit stops is dictated by the fuel fill, so it's all about getting everything done quickly, but in a controlled manner to really minimise any mistakes because a mistake in pit lane can cost you a huge amount of time and track position."

DRIVER PAIRINGS -- Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing Driver:

"In years gone by at Bathurst, if you look at the record books, there was quite often a case of full-time drivers being teamed up with an endurance driver and there would always be a big difference in lap times between the two," said Todd Kelly.

"In the last few years the people that have won Bathurst, and even the top few placegetters, have had the team's best two drivers together. So now you can't afford to have any lack of performance and speed in every second stint.

"You have to be right on the money with your lap times for the whole race and it's really now become a 1000-kilometre sprint race. Even your in-laps into pit lane, your out-laps after a pit stop when you have only just jumped in the car, and every single lap of the race is basically ten-tenths, every single lap really counts.

"So to have two drivers that are within a tenth of a second of each other all day long is absolutely critical these days for a top result at Bathurst, and we'd like to think that this is exactly what we have with me and Rick at Jack Daniel's Racing."

EXPERIENCE -- Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing Driver:

"Bathurst is an extremely difficult circuit, even for a driver with a few years experience," said Rick Kelly.

"Leading up to the event you do a lot of homework on the track by watching vision, looking at previous year's data, watching in-car camera vision and so on so that the first practice session is a little bit easier and that you're on the pace more quickly.

"But still, that first session is almost uncomfortable inside the car, because the track is that difficult and hairy over the top of the hill. It's like nothing else in this country and probably most of the world.

"It's quite tough and there are a lot of blind corners over the top of the hill. It takes a lot of experience to know where to position the car, how much speed to take through the corners and how much steering lock you need to get around there.

"There are a lot of places where the steering binds up so you have to have the correct amount of lock on the wheel when you go through a couple of the corners up there otherwise the steering will bind up on you and you can end up in the fence quite easily.

"The other thing with Bathurst is that it's very difficult to tell whether there are stones or oil or things brought out onto the track across the top and that catches a lot of people out because you can't see it and it is such a long track.

"The weather is strange as well. It can be raining at the top of the mountain and not the bottom, or vice versa, so one lap it's dry in one spot and the next lap a shower has gone through.

"It's such a long lap and your visits to each corner are quite spread out, so there are just so many variables that experience really does count for a lot at Bathurst."

STRATEGY -- Joe Bremner, Jack Daniel's Racing Team Manager:

"Bathurst is similar to Phillip Island in that the least amount of time you spend in pit lane, the better, but the race is twice as long," said Joe Bremner.

"So we want to make sure that we only come into the pits when it's necessary. Emptying the fuel tank over a stint and filling it back up in the pit stop is what you're really basing each stint around.

"If you can get away with doing the minimum amount of stops, that's the quickest way to winning the race.

"We are thinking that six stops are going to be around the mark and the fuel makes things different this year as the E85 burns faster. There will be more stops this year than last year but judging on our fuel economy at Phillip Island we think we should be alright.

"We have to be flexible enough with our strategy so that we can come into the pits earlier because of a Safety Car, so you have to be on your toes and be ready to do make those decisions quickly and adjust your strategy on the run.

"The Race Engineer for each car will be controlling their particular strategy and that's based on lots of factors, including which driver is in the car at anytime, watching the minimum and maximum amount of laps each driver can do, what their lap times are looking like, the fuel windows and all sorts of other things.

"The Data Engineer will watch the fuel consumption very closely for the whole race and is continually informing the Race Engineer as to how many stops they have remaining, how many laps they can do until they need to stop again, what the rate of fuel consumption per lap is like, how much a Safety Car might stretch the window out by running slowly and just generally keeping an eye out because so many things can change your race strategy.

"But really, so much of it is going to be based around how you are going on fuel.

"As far as the crew is concerned, it's really important for me to keep the pit crew informed on when we are going to stop, what needs to be done at each stop, when we are doing our brake disc and pad changes, how long we are holding the car and how much fuel we are putting into the car and even just keeping everyone on their toes for the entire race, which is around seven hours long.

"Keeping focus for that long after a hard week of work is really tough and an important part of it all. You have to manage your crew guys properly and make sure that when the car is coming in, everyone knows exactly what they need to do because there is no room for error."

CAR SET-UP -- David Swenson, Jack Daniel's Racing Race Engineer:

"The car set-up is reasonably unique at Bathurst because the track is so unique," said David Swenson.

"There are little differences in a few areas of the set-up but not as many as you might expect.

"At Bathurst the accumulated mileage is equivalent to about four sprint events.

"So from the point of view of component lifing, you want to make sure critical components are relatively new and do not have too much mileage on them heading into Bathurst, but are tried and tested parts and you are confident in their reliability.

"If your car is good at Bathurst, your car is generally pretty competitive everywhere, and because Bathurst is such an important race, you always have that race in mind as your benchmark when you are designing and analysing components for the car.

"Basing something on being able to survive the rigours of Bathurst is the goal and then you can have it on your car for the whole year and believe in its reliability.

"Because of the time constraints and the costs of the championship these days, there isn't really the scope to be running completely different parts for Sprint events compared to the endurance races. You make subtle changes but the cars are very similar.

"Bathurst is the most demanding track we visit. It has the highest loads that we see, both in terms of the loading the car gets going across the top of the mountain and also the duration of the race.

"So it's definitely the most demanding race we go to, so having a car that has the engineering strength and a suitable set-up to look after its tyres over a long stint is crucial."

ENGINES -- Chris Fitzgerald, Jack Daniel's Racing Engine Technician:

"Going to Bathurst we have three engines per car so for Kelly Racing that equates to 12 engines in total that we have to prepare for that race," said Chris Fitzgerald.

"We have the scheduled engine change on either Friday or Saturday, depending on how each car is going and if they make the Top 10 Shootout, so you put the race engine in late in the weekend just to keep the kilometres off of it and to save it for the race, being such a long race.

"All the engines go to Bathurst fresh, with all the parts inside each engine having very few kilometers on them. It makes it a big task getting so many engines ready.

"When you have good engines it really does show at Bathurst. To have one of your cars pull out of the slipstream and pass another car is a nice feeling for everyone in the engine department. But at the same time, a car that handles very well will come off the corner better and make the engine look good.

"It's all one big package but definitely, at Bathurst you need good horsepower as part of the package, and also good fuel economy, so there's a lot to take into account.

"The engine department definitely gets excited about Bathurst because it is such a challenge in terms of both reliability and horsepower, but pressure comes with that as well.

"It's definitely a true test of the engines. With such long straights and a 'tall' differential ratio, it means we do get to see where we are at with the engine package."


- Todd and Rick are attempting to become the first brothers to win the Bathurst 1000 in a V8 Supercar ...
* only once have brothers teamed up to win the Bathurst 1000, with Geoff and David Brabham winning the Super Touring version of The Great Race in 1997 in a BMW 320i, after Craig Baird and Paul Morris crossed the line first but were later disqualified. Two versions of the Bathurst 1000 were staged in 1997 and 1998.

- Few families can boast multiple Bathurst winners ...
* Brothers Todd and Rick Kelly have three Bathurst 1000 crowns between them
* Jim Richards is a seven-time Bathurst winner and son Steven Richards has won twice at The Great Race
* Geoff and David Brabham, son of three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jack, won the Super Touring Bathurst 1000 together in 1997

- Only THREE pairings in this year's race can boast both drivers as former Bathurst 1000 winners ...
* Rick Kelly (2003, 2004) and Todd Kelly (2005)
* Mark Skaife (1991, 1992, 2001, 2002, 2005) and Greg Murphy (1996, 1999, 2003, 2004)
* Craig Lowndes (1996, 2006, 2007, 2008) and Jamie Whincup (2006, 2007, 2008)

- Rick Kelly continues to hold the record as the youngest ever Bathurst winner from his 2003 victory with Greg Murphy...
* Rick also holds the record as the youngest driver to win a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercar Championship Series as a result of the same win (aged 20 years, eight months, 25 days)
* At Symmons Plains in May this year, Rick claimed brother Todd's record as the youngest driver to compete in 100 Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercar Championship Series events


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Series Supercars
Drivers David Brabham , Greg Murphy , Nathan Pretty , Jim Richards , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Baird , Craig Lowndes , Paul Morris , Jamie Whincup , John Moore , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards , Phillip Island