Frustration followed fun as young Kiwis Ant Pedersen and Andre Heimgartner proved their speed in the Bathurst 1000km V8 Supercar race on Sunday.
The young pair who are stars in the BNT NZ SuperTourer Series, transitioned well driving for the new Super Black V8 Supercar team, finishing a very respectable 11th in the crash-filled race but it should have been even better, Pedersen says.
“We put ourselves in a really good spot to be in top 10 and potentially the top five but there was a miscalculation on the fuel number that saw us wrong,” the Hamilton racer said today. “That was real frustrating.”
The crew’s mistake forced them to stop their all-black Ford Falcon for extra fuel near the end of the long, gruelling race and drop back in the field. But Pedersen could see the positives in their performance.
“It was pleasing nonetheless,” he said. “The goal was to finish the race and stay on the lead lap but then we realised we were quite competitive.
“Then we weren’t content to just follow blokes so we started hustling and passing and making a race of it. It was a lot of fun.”
It was Pedersen’s second start in Australia’s “Great Race” while 19-year-old Aucklander Andre Heimgartner was making his debut, although he had raced other cars on the daunting Mount Panorama circuit before.
The race saw 10 safety-car periods, mostly because of crashes, and even a one-hour break while circuit crew repaired a section of the track that was crumbling away, but the Kiwis kept their cool.
“There’s a few marks on the car, there was a bit of drama, but it was a pretty clean race from our point of view,” Pedersen said. “There was lots of drama and lots of crashes, a chaotic race.
“It was just pleasing that we kept our heads and didn’t get caught up in the drama and emotion of the whole event. We ran our own race and didn’t get caught up in the hoopla of it all.”
The one-hour break was another frustration, Pedersen said.
“At the time we had a pretty good rhythm and I think we were fifth on the road, we were doing it comfortably,” he said. “And then they stopped the race which was a pain because you get out of synch, out of rhythm.”
Pedersen reckoned that he and Heimgartner had proved their ability on the big stage of Bathurst, and he hoped it would benefit his career by leading to more drives. “We did the best job we could yesterday, we’ll see what happens in the future.”
Super Black is aiming to run a car in whole V8 Supercar championship next year.
Racing in the BNT NZ SuperTourers had helped Pedersen get to the point where he could go well in the intense competition of Bathurst.
“I feel that the BNT NZ SuperTourers has absolutely helped with my development because it’s a real quality racing series,” Pedersen said. “The competition is high, with super-good drivers, and the cars are fast.”