Wednesday, July 19, 2006
TASMAN Motorsport's Jason Richards won't have to worry about the kerb that last year launched him into a series of barrel-rolls at Queensland Raceway when he heads onto the track this Friday to practice for this year's event.
The offending kerb has been changed into a moveable version and won't be taking a trackside seat this weekend, instead removed as it serves no purpose.
"From what I'm told the kerb is gone, so at least we know that something positive has come out of what happened last year," says Richards, fresh from a visit to his native New Zealand to race against and speak to young karting drivers in Christchurch.
"It's now a removable kerb which they take out for races on the full circuit which we use, and put back when they use the link road section for racing.
"Without doubt it was the biggest crash of my career but it won't be playing on my mind when we roll out onto the track for first practice.
"We have good car speed at the moment and I'm pretty keen to try our new style of setup and see if it reaps rewards at Queensland Raceway like it has in the last few rounds.
"This time last year I was feeling pretty sore but this time around I'm very much firing on all eight cylinders.
"I have no dramas going back there this year. It's been a troublesome place for us and we haven't had a good run up there over the last two years.
"For sure, it's the home track for plenty of Ford teams, but it's just the same as when they come south to Winton, where all of the Melbourne-based Holden teams test. It was hard for the majority of the Queensland team's two rounds ago.
"There are plenty of fast Holden teams at the moment so we'll have to dial our car in quickly and hope we can hang in there for a result."
Tasman Motorsport's #23 driver, Andrew Jones, has been working hard with his crew to turn Tasman Motorsport into a two-pronged attack after the team tested last Monday at its Winton test circuit in Victoria.
A change in the race format at Queensland Raceway - from a single race last year to three separate races this year - disappoints Jones, though the 26-year-old is happy to take the format as it comes.
"The change of format for this year's Queensland race is a shame," says Jones.
"For the last few years it has been a 280-kilometre race. It may not be as good a spectacle for people watching, but I enjoyed the mini-endurance event. It gives you the opportunity to bring some strategy into the races that a three-race weekend doesn't.
"The reverse grid second race should be suited a fair bit more to Queensland Raceway than some of the other tracks we've experienced it on. Turns one and two are flowing corners and there's good passing opportunities under braking into turns three and six.
"Jason is definitely on a roll with the #3 car and we're pressing on with the #23 car to make it better. Personally, I want to be going better, as does the team.
"The last couple of years they've struggled at Queensland Raceway and the setup hasn't suited the circuit. But there's definitely a different feeling in the team with what they've tried in the last few rounds and how well it has been working."
The team's Commodores will carry main backing from Harrop Engineering this weekend.
Harrop Engineering is a major technical partner of Tasman Motorsport and its founder/owner Ron Harrop is Technical Director of the team.
"Harrop Engineering is keen to strengthen its current position in the QLD market and this is the perfect opportunity to showcase our partnership with Tasman Motorsport," said Harrop.
The company provides high-performance brakes, suspension and other cutting-edge components to many leading teams in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and Harrop himself is one of Australian motorsport's most respected and highly sought-after innovators.