THERE'S plenty going on around the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour paddock ahead of Qualifying this afternoon - here's a look around the paddock.
POWER ON RACING:
A NEW team has been established to look after the newest Mercedes A45 AMG running in the race this year.
Power On racing has been formed by two-time Bathurst 12 Hour outright winner Rod Salmon and ex-Supercars Technical guru Paul Taylor to prepare the new car for this year's six-hour and APC championship campaign.
Based in Sydney, the team recently completed the build on the Bilstien-supported car which is the latest, 2016-evolution of the A45 that includes a new centre differential for better mid-corner speed - theoretically over and above the existing 2015-spec cars run by Garth Walden Racing.
Salmon won the MARC Class at the 12-hour this year and also grabbed a race win and second overall in the opening round of the Australian GT Trophy series at Sandown last weekend.
Driving with Nathan Antunes, the brand-new car has been strong since the first practice session and heads into qualifying with the third-quickest time of the weekend so far.
Salmon also confirmed he and Antunes would complete the full APC championship this year in the car.
Though running for a different team, Rod's well-known Skwirk online Education Company also appears on the bonnet of the Karl Reindler / Andrew Richmond Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS - run this weekend out of the CXC Global Racing stable.
That car sits seventh overall ahead of qualifying today.
CXCs UP AND DOWN WEEKEND:
DYLAN THOMAS' four-car Mitsubishi squad has had an up and down weekend to date with two cars performing strongly and the other two battling with technical issues - though the team hopes all will be performing well by qualifying this afternoon.
While Thomas and Slade have banged in the second-fastest time of the weekend so far - and the Richmond / Reindler car has been inside the top-10 all weekend - the two other cars have had their issues.
The Andrews / Griffith EVO IX RS has battled with electronical issues all weekend, in particular the car's Lambda sensor causing it to run lean - the team working through the process of tuning the car in practice this morning.
The sister car was found to have damaged piston rings after practice, Sports Car racers Neale Muston and Peter Paddon managing 21st overall across three practice sessions so far.
CLIMBING THE WALL (RACING):
AFTER a last-minute deal to get on the grid last year, Wall Racing has had a much longer build-up to get their venerable EVO IX on the grid this year.
A complete-rebuild pre-race has the car in top shape and punching above it's weight (and age) ahead of qualifying.
"Last year the car had done four 12-hour races and a lot of other stuff and we just rolled it out for this race, so it was pretty tired," David Wall explained.
"This year Alan East (car owner) said 'if we're going to do it, let's do it properly' so the car got a full birthday.
"That time we did in practice was three seconds faster than it has ever been here so even if we can't do that again, we're very satisfied with how the car is going.
"It's not bad for a car celebrating it's 10th anniversary!"
THE No. 94 Warrin Mining BMW of South Aussie drivers Adam and Jed Wallis found the fence at turn 7 this morning, when a deflating tyre put them into the fence on the left-front of their jet-black 1M.
The damage, though not terminal, required a new front upright and key components beneath the car - as well as superficial bodywork issues. The team was 50-50 about making it for qualifying, more confident about the race tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Aaron McGill's Bathurst comeback saw the Battery World car badly damaged after a crash at the dipper yesterday. Though the team had pulled the car apart by early afternoon yesterday, waiting on parts has them nervous about missing qualifying today. An oil cooler, shock absorber, driveshaft and other components were en-route to the track for installation today. McGill – who actually proposed to his Fiancé’ the last time he was at Bathurst – will team up with fellow Super2 racer Aaron Tebb this weekend.
MOSTERT / MORCOM: EARLY DAYS:
CHAZ MOSTERT and Nathan Morcom say its early days for their DPO Ford Focus, but that things are progressing well.
“It is early days for our car, just the same as it is for the Sherrins. It is all in the unknown as far as how the cars are going to go, as they haven’t raced each other or raced any race,” Morcom told australianproductioncars.com.au.
“We only got this car together a couple of weeks ago, so far with where we are at we are doing quicker times than what we did last year in the BMW so that is promising for its first outing. We are just looking forward to getting out there and going fast.”
“The Focus is having a good run so far," Mostert added. "It is a brand new car as Nathan said and – touch wood – so far we haven’t had any hiccups. We will keep chipping away, we have qualifying up next and we will see how we go.
“I always enjoy this event, I think it is great. Trying to keep the motorsport down in the lower budget (is good) and everyone here brings some awesome cars so it is super competitive.
“It is always great to race around this track and whenever I come to Bathurst it is always pretty special to me.”
SHERRIN: QUALY UP FOR GRABS:
Grant Sherrin, who punched out the fastest ever Production Car lap of Mount Panorama this morning, says Qualifying remains a lottery.
“Everyone knows that early in the morning with turbo cars, the cool air sees them go quicker. If you look at all the other cars, they all went quicker – everyone improved in the cold air,” Sherrin said.
“I think I was lucky, in that I got a clean lap in there and I got to lay one down. At the same time, I am getting more and more comfortable with the car and taking it around Bathurst.
“In qualifying, it is going to drop off. With the heat with every car it drops off, we saw that yesterday with the majority setting faster times in practice one in the morning compared to the afternoon’s practice two.
“At the same time, I think everyone will be having a better crack at it in that session with the qualifying sessions split up into the bottom 50 and the top 50, and I think some of those other top cars might not have got a real clear lap in practice.
“We will see how we go, but anything could happen. We are not sure where we will be.”