Tim Blanchard admits racing against his own car earlier this year in Perth was a “weird feeling” but says there’ll be no room for sentiment at Bathurst.
Blanchard stepped back from full-time driving in his family-owned #21 Team CoolDrive entry this year, replacing himself with Macauley Jones.
The CoolDrive marketing manager had a wildcard outing in Perth aboard a fourth Brad Jones Racing entry and now returns for the enduros alongside Nick Percat.
Teaming with Percat in BJR’s lead entry, rather than his own car which the team also prepares, gives Blanchard his best shot at a Bathurst result.
“Part of the reason for stepping down from full-time driving was to make sure I get myself in a position where I can have a real crack at getting on the podium at the endurance races,” Blanchard told Supercars.com.
“Nick is doing a fantastic job at the moment so I’m pretty excited to be teaming up with him in a car that I’m pretty familiar with.
“It’s all coming together in the lead-up really well.”
A Safety Car period during the Saturday night race at Barbagallo brought Blanchard and Jones into close quarters.
“I ended up behind Macauley on the Safety Car restart so that was a bit of a weird thing, following your own car,” Blanchard said.
“You kind of want to get past it but you kind of also don’t want to take a spot off your own car, so it was a bit of a weird feeling.
“But come Bathurst, I’m going to have a bit more of a selfish approach and be more focused on getting a result for myself and Nick and hopefully the CoolDrive car finishes second!”
The 2007 Australian Formula Ford champion believes his driving has benefitted from removing the pressure of racing full-time and will take a different mindset into racing alongside Percat.
“I’m probably in a lot different position than last time I was a co-driver,” Blanchard said.
“The last time I was a co-driver I was trying to prove myself and get into a full-time seat; this time I’m definitely there as a support and to help Nick get results so it’s a very different approach for me personally.
“I also have a bit more of an appreciation of what a lead driver is looking for in a co-driver.
“So you’ll have to ask Nick after the endurance races whether I have done a good job of that or not, but I think it’s going to be a very different approach for me this time around.”