Gold Coast 600 - Race Report


The race weekend started early for the team with a test day at Queensland raceway for the international drivers on Wednesday.

Augusto and Simon got their heads around our V8 Supercars quite quickly but both commented on how brutish the cars were, but in a good way.

If you would like to find out further information on Simon and Augusto please visit their websites http://simon-pagenaud.com/ and http://www.farfus.com/

Friday we were on track for four practice sessions with two of these being co-driver sessions.

At the completion of the two co-driver practice session Simon was 3rd quickest in his practice session and the fastest V8 Supercar rookie. Simon has driven on the longer track before, back in 2007 in Indy car for Team Australia, finishing 5th.

Augusto had to get used to driving a right hand drive car for the first time in his career with the main challenge, learning to change gears left handed. The sequential gear box made life a little easier for this process.

Both Simon and Augusto enjoyed the track and were looking forward to the races over the weekend.

Lee was very happy with his car throughout the practices whilst Robbo was having a few brake issues which the crew would over come.
The annual Gold Coast loud shirt day was a huge success!!

You should have felt their fabric!!

Saturday's qualifying was over in a few minutes as the rain started to tumble down.

The session ended up being about who could bank a quick lap straight up. Lee was able to do this and made it through to the shootout. Unfortunately Robbo wasn't able to and qualified 14th for the start of Saturday’s race.

After the shootout Lee commented he was a smidge cautious heading into the first chicane, losing 2 tenths. Lee was unable to make the time back up over the remainder of the lap, and finished 7th.

Simon and Augusto started the race on Saturday. Simon’s initial jump at the start was great, but unfortunately he got held up by a car stalling in front of him.

Augusto had a strong start moving up a number of places.

With the thought that soft tyre life was going to be an issue we pitted Simon on lap 24 and Augusto on lap 25 for tyres and fuel. They both stayed in the car, as they needed to complete a minimum of 34 laps.

As others pitted Augusto moved up through the field to 2nd until he pitted on lap 46 and handed the car over to Robbo.

Simon started very conservatively in the early stages of the race. He was trying to get used to the V8 racing etiquette, a bit of biff and barge, whilst also trying to save the tyres.

He pitted on lap 49 for a driver change.

The 34 car went a lap down, but with good stops and a timely safety car we were able to come from the lap down, to finish 8th.
This was a great drive and finish by Robbo, considering where the # 34 had been situated.

Lee had a great late race battle with Tender and dropped a number of spots due the this, but was able to get GT on the line to finish 10th.
With no shoot out on Sunday, there was just a 30 minute qualifying session. Lee qualified 8th and Robbo 11th.

The soft trye was lasting a lot longer than expected and this meant we could change our strategy for Sunday.

Augusto and Simon started Sunday’s race again, and with the longer tyre life than expected, were able to complete their minimum 34 laps with ease.

Augusto got away to a slow start after clutch issues. He was then turned around twice during the race and then had to serve a drive through penalty for curb hoping.

By the time he pitted on lap 42 to hand the car over the Robbo they were down a lap in 21st position. They ended up finishing the race in this position.

It was a tough day at the office for the #34 car.

With a race under his belt, Simon drove a great first stint to hand the car over to Lee on lap 34 in 5th place.

By the time Lee made his final stop on Lap 54 he was in 4th position.

During the final pit stop Lee jumped Murphy with a great on track battle ensuing.

Murphy passed Lee, but he was able to pass him back again on Lap 87 and drive away from him to come home in 3rd place, and finally receive a surfboard!!

Simon and Augusto both enjoyed the racing and were very impressed with our cars. They also commented that the workmanship and team work shown by the GRM boys was as good as they had experienced in any other motorsport category they were involved with around the world.

It was a pleasure to work with Simon and Augusto this weekend and we wish them well for the remainder of their races this year.
Over the weekend Lee has moved up 3 places in the driver’s championship to 8th position and Robbo sits in 16th position.

The team overall is in 5th position, in the teams championship.

The drivers and a number of the crew stayed in Queensland for a Fujitsu Ride day on the Tuesday after the GC 600.

It was great to take to take their guests for a spin around Queensland Raceway.

We have now finished the Season of Endurance and are heading to Tasmania in 3 weeks for Round 12 of the championship.

Regards

Garry