Bright Strategy

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 11/10/2015
  • By Bruce Newton

Third fastest Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 qualifier Jason Bright says Brad Jones Racing has the strategy smarts to win its first Great Race on a day that is set to throw challenging conditions at the field.

And the veteran Team BOC Holden Commodore VF driver, who won the Bathurst 1000 with Steven Richards for Stone Brothers Racing in 1998, would love nothing more than to deliver that first victory to the Albury team.

"We all come here wanting to win Bathurst but I would love to give Brad a Bathurst win, anyone would," said Bright, 42, who will share his car with Andrew Jones, the son of Kim Jones, the co-team owner, for the fifth consecutive year.

"Brad lives for this joint. We have seen plenty of guys live for this race. He came close a couple of times as a driver and as a team owner so getting on that top step would be pretty special for all of us I think," Jones told v8supercars.com.au on Saturday night.

"And the last two years we have had enough pace to do it and if we make all the right calls tomorrow then I think we are in with a shot.

"It would be good to give BJR a Bathurst win to add to the trophy collection."

Bright and Jones finished fifth in 2013 and 14th last year, while BJR's best Bathurst finish came in 2009 when the late Jason Richards and Cameron McConville finished second in a Holden.

BJR has another team in the top 10 shaping as credible contenders for victory in the shape of Fabian Coulthard and Luke Youlden in the Freightliner Racing Holden.

Coulthard had qualified fastest for the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout, but slipped to ninth on the grid as rain became heavier. Bright jumped from sixth to third on the grid in slightly better conditions earlier in the session.

David Reynolds and Dean Canto will start from pole position in The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X, with Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat alongside them on the front row in the Wilson Security GRM Volvo S60.

Lee Holdsworth and Sebastien Bourdais join Bright and Jones on row two in the CS Racing Preston Hire Holden.

With the potential for changeable conditions, more safety cars and unscheduled pit stops to swap from slicks to grooved tyres, Bright says calling the right shots from pitlane will prove crucial if BJR is to break through for its first Bathurst win.

"We've got plenty of guys that enjoy the strategy side of it," said Bright. "We work pretty hard on it and I think we communicate pretty well in those times when we're trying to figure out what the track needs at the moment, whether it's wets or slicks and what is a calculated risk and what's not.

"Making those calls at a place like this hugely important here because if you do an extra two minute lap and try and do it on slicks on a really wet track it can turn into a three minute lap pretty quickly - or you may not come back.

"So you have to keep a really good eye on the weather, the drivers have to give the right feedback on whether they think it's safe to do another lap or whether its just pit and get some wets on and suck it up if you make the wrong call.

"It's about making the right calls - or trying to make the right calls - all day and not risking anything that means not being in the leading group 70 laps from the end."

Bright said keeping track of the requirement that co-drivers do a minimum one-third of the race(54 laps) and a driver can't stay in the car for more than three-and-a-half hours continuously are the sort of things that can be a challenge to keep a track of in changeable conditions.

"Some of those things get more difficult in the wet," explained Bright. "But it doesn't mean you don't keep thinking about all the things you've got to do which is three stints from the end, try and get your main driver in the car for the run to the finish."

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