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Race focus for Team 18 during Bathurst practice

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Team 18 has enjoyed a productive opening day to their Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 campaign, logging over 120 laps over the three hours of practice time at Mount Panorama today.

With thunderstorms predicted later in the week, the first day of action saw clear blue skies and dry running without a single red flag interruption.

Thursday’s running saw three one-hour practice sessions at the 6.213km mountain circuit, including a specific one-hour session for co-drivers.

With recent wet weather in the Central Tablelands region and no racing held at Bathurst since February, the track took a while to grip up before the times tumbled late in the day as both cars dipped into the low 2:05s.

IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom completed the majority of the first practice session, with Golding hopping in for a couple of laps at the end before Practice 2.

Golding, who joined Team 18 for Bathurst following his stint as a full-time driver with Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM), completed 21 laps in the co-drivers session and finished tenth fastest, before Winterbottom set a 2:05.3204 to end the day in 11th.

Scott Pye and Dean Fiore shared the opening session of the day in the DEWALT Commodore before Fiore took control for the co-drivers session.

Pye and Fiore completed 68 laps in the three sessions, more laps than any other car in Thursday’s running, as Pye set a 2:05.3853 to finish the final session of the day in 12th, only 0.06sec behind team mate Mark Winterbottom.

The team worked through their practice program which included rehearsing driver changes, brake rotor changes and refuelling, with crews only having to change tyres during pit stops since the return to racing this year.

The IRWIN Racing and DEWALT Racing Commodores return to the track tomorrow for two further practice sessions, before qualifying for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 commences at 4:05pm local time. Friday’s action can be viewed live on Network 10, Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.

QUOTES

Mark Winterbottom

driver, #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore

"We had a good first hit out today, we ended the day 11th in that last run and just on the fringe of the top ten," said Winterbottom.

"Jimmy did a great job in his co-driver laps today and he’s settled in seamlessly with the team this week.

"We’ll work hard overnight, we’ve got a few things we want to tune up on the car but we’re happy with what we’ve started with today."

James Golding

driver, #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore

"It’s good to get Day 1 out of the way, it’s always a big build-up to this weekend so to have the first day run smoothly and to get a feel for the car was a good start to the week," said Golding.

"The car was a bit different out there to what I drove last year and having not been in the car since the start of the year it took some time to get up to speed.

"I’m getting more and more comfortable every lap I turn, we’ve been trying things throughout the day to improve the setup of the car and for the race as well.

"The track wasn’t too grippy to begin with, it’s starting to get better this afternoon but I think there’s still plenty in it to go, so as the weekend goes on it’s definitely going to grip up and get better.

"We still have plenty of things to tick off before the race, but we’re on the up and looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow."

Scott Pye

driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore

"We had a solid first day with plenty of laps in the bank," said Pye.

"It was great for Dean [Fiore] to do some long race runs so we didn’t put so much effort into one lap speed rather focus on our race car for Sunday.

"In saying that, our one-lap speed was okay and tomorrow’ll find a little more speed as we build towards qualifying, but overall today was very successful for us, we should have a strong race car.

"The track was pretty speedy at the end, the times we saw were impressive and that was pretty relevant to what qualifying could be tomorrow at the same time of day.

"The morning was a bit cooler but given it was the first time on track and it was pretty dusty the track wasn’t as quick as it was by the afternoon.

"There’s a high chance of rain later in the weekend but we’ll just take it as it comes, if it rains on Sunday it will make the race exciting and keep things interesting throughout the day."

Dean Fiore

co-driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore

"Overall we had a really productive day," said Fiore.

"I wanted to make sure that the seat that we poured on the Gold Coast worked, so that was the first box ticked, so then it was just about getting comfortable and turning laps.

"I’m feeling nice and comfortable in the car and the idea was to put in some solid race runs, practice fuel saving and progress through our programme."

NEXT EVENT: 15-18 October 2020

Mount Panorama, NSW

Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000

TRACK LENGTH: 6.21km

CORNERS: 23

BATHURST 1000 RACES: 57

SCHEDULE - Local Time AEDT

THURSDAY

Practice 1 (all drivers): 9:30am, 60 minutes

Practice 2 (co-drivers): 12:45pm, 60 minutes

Practice 3 (all drivers): 4:00pm, 60 minutes

FRIDAY

Practice 4 (co-drivers): 9:45am, 60 minutes

Practice 5 (all drivers): 12:10pm, 60 minutes

Qualifying: 4:05pm, 45 minutes

SATURDAY

Practice 6 (co-drivers): 9:10am, 60 minutes

Practice 7 (all drivers): 11:35am, 60 minutes

Top 10 Shootout: 5:05pm

SUNDAY

Warm-up: 8:40am, 20 minutes

Race 31: 11:30am, 161 laps

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