A vital test day next week will be the key to helping Chaz Mostert make the ultimate comeback to Bathurst in October.
Mount Panorama has been hugely significant for the 24-year old Supercars driver, who’s greatest victory in 2014 was followed by his shattering lowest point last year.
Monday’s test will be Mostert’s first development day in his Ford Falcon FG X after his huge smash at Bathurst, as his pre-season test was just about his physical ability to drive the car. He broke his femur, wrist and suffered knee issues in the qualifying crash, which left him to sit out of the remainder of the season.
The Supercheap Auto racer is yet to crack a win this year and earlier in the season admitted his comeback has been tougher than expected as he works to adapt the car to a machine he’s comfortable in.
“For me, this is probably my first test day of the year – the first one was just basically getting my head back around the car and getting my head back in the groove,” Mostert told supercars.com of next week's run.
“I’m looking forward to developing the car a bit more on this test day coming up. I know we’ve got a pretty busy plan to get through, and if we find things that need a bit more reviewing, then we’re lucky enough to have the co-driver test day as well [in the weeks before Sandown].
“It’s going to be a really good time for us. Fingers crossed we can find a little bit more pace out of the FG Xs.”
While Mostert confirmed the team did have new ‘go fast’ components for the cars, he played down the potential impact any updates could make as he chases that elusive 2016 victory.
“There’s bits and pieces – [the team’s] working hard on in the background. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I wouldn’t say that’s all going to be perfect and easy sailing, but if we can apply them and find a bit of pace out of them, we’ll definitely be applying it and using it as soon as we can.”
Mostert won two of the three races at Sydney Motorsport Park last year, and with second place at Sandown with Cameron Waters, he looked a sure-fire contender for the Championship this time in 2015.
“This year, any previous history at places hasn’t really showed much … I had a good result at SMSP last year, I’d like to try and do it again this year and that track’s going to be one of our hardest tests.
“It’s going to be pretty hard on tyres around there and that’s what we particularly need to work on so we’ll see how we go.”
The focus is definitely on October’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, which Mostert says he rates higher than a championship win.
He has been back to Mount Panorama since his bone-breaking accident, which the young gun thinks will help him mentally when the Great Race rolls around.
“I was back in a BMW at the start of this year and did a six-hour production car race around there with one of my good mates Nathan Morcom – we got a win up there,” he said.
“It was good to drive that up there, something a little slower to get the head around the place again and looking forward to getting back there in a Supercar, I’m looking forward to that.”