Bright to fight for first SMP win

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 22/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Racking up 210 event starts this weekend, Jason Bright surpasses Hall of Famer Glenn Seton on the ladder of all-time starters, placing him in seventh on the list.

However, there's only one record he's worried about breaking at the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 - not having won a race at the circuit. Though the Team BOC racer has recorded four second place finishes, the last in 2003 with Team Brock, he has not been able to go one better. So what is it about the 3.93km circuit that proves so tough to crack?

"I don't know," Bright said.

"It has been one of the more challenging ones, but when we've tested there at the start of last year and the start of this year we've had very good speed. So I like to think we go there with a reasonable chance to finally stand on the top step.

"It's hard to say why it hasn't happened previously. I think other times over the years when someone's car has worked really well there, they can be very dominant. I haven't sat in one of those cars as yet, but I've seen some drivers have some really dominant rounds at that circuit."

Interestingly, Bright has won at eight of the tracks the V8 Supercars visit in 2014. And given when the six he hasn't cracked fall on the calendar - Townsville onwards, excluding Sandown and Bathurst - that could mean a weakness in the second part of the season.

But Bright thinks he may be able to add a run on the board this weekend - and agreed his Brad Jones Racing team needs to bounce back after a slump in form over the past few rounds.

"I've had a tough couple of rounds with penalties and then a tough round right through Queensland altogether, so I certainly have wanted to get back on the podium and this round is as good as any.

"I think getting a race win at a track you haven't had a win yet is always very satisfying - we qualified third at Sydney Motorsport Park two years ago, and then we had good pace in testing - we just need to turn that into a result now."

Bright's not the only one who thinks the BJR cars could feature at Sydney Motorsport Park - Erebus Motorsport's Will Davison labeled the BJR cars ones to watch coming into this weekend.

"Like I said, at the test days we've certainly gone well there, with myself quickest the first year and Fabian quickest last year," Bright said in response.

"I think there are some other cars that have got some pretty good high speed aero balance now.

"I think that Volvo will be very strong there from what we've seen, the Nissans will be very strong there from what we've seen as well.

"We'll certainly have to work harder than what we did on the test day because I think everyone will be putting their best foot forward at the race meeting. I'm confident we'll be somewhere in the mix, it's just far too close to call in this game at the moment."

Looking back at his years in V8 Supercars, that closeness is the biggest transformation he has seen in the sport. And for the 41-year old, to continue to achieve strong results when the field is often separated by less than a second in qualifying is satisfying and proves he still has what it takes.

"I think there was a time when the category probably wasn't as competitive - and I think it's more competitive now than ever," Bright said.

"So when you're getting a pole in the last couple of years, I think that certainly is very satisfying. Whereas 10 years ago - not taking anything away from the field then - but back then I feel like it wasn't as hard to get a pole.

"Towsnville, for instance, that was very satisfying getting pole there. And at the last round at Queensland Raceway, we were 14th and we were only three-tenths (of a second) off pole, whereas three-tenths 15 years ago would've been the second row of the grid no problem, and you'd be feeling pretty good about yourself!

"Sometimes it's unbelievable to think you could be on the wrong side of three-tenths and outside the top 10. You sort of stand on the edge of the track and imagine what three-tenths looks like and it doesn't seem possible... but it keeps on happening and it just shows you that the teams that are at the right side of that three-tenths are doing a great job."

Bright sits 11th in the Championship points, 76 behind 10th placed David Reynolds.

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