Charlie Schwerkolt admits his Preston Hire Racing team is fighting against the odds to have Lee Holdsworth’s Holden repaired for Sunday’s Albert Park finale.
The #18 Commodore suffered extensive chassis damage when it was struck by an out-of-control Nick Percat yesterday following a brake failure on the Brad Jones Racing entry.
Percat’s car was immediately withdrawn and has been returned to BJR’s base in Albury in order to fix roll-cage damage in time for the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint on April 7-9.
Preston Hire Racing is however pushing to have its car back on track tomorrow, with repairs starting late yesterday at its workshop in the Melbourne suburb of Mount Waverley.
“There’s a lot more damage than we thought,” Schwerkolt told Supercars.com.
“It looked bad but it’s even worse underneath.
“Both rear rails are gone, the subframe, it’s all bent and twisted pretty hard.
“Everything from the rear doors back is all twisted and bent.
“Fortunately we’ve got the best fabricator in Australia, George Smith, leading the repairs.”
Schwerkolt confirmed that the car will definitely be absent from the track today, with a return tomorrow deemed as a “slim chance”.
The team has its own chassis jig but is still trying to source the required subframe components in order to undertake the repair.
“We’ve got to get it exactly right for Tassie and make sure it’s done properly,” he said.
“We’re trying to replace the whole birdcage but the problem is there’s not a lot of bits in pitlane here.
“The bits all come from Queensland mainly, either Pace (Innovations, chassis specialists) or Triple Eight.
“It’s a slim chance but we’re trying our hardest to get out for Sunday.
“We’ve got 80 sponsor guests here to watch the car on track so we want to be here racing.
“It’d also be great to give the car some laps before we put it on the boat to Tasmania on Friday.”
The Holdens of Shane van Gisbergen and James Moffat are meanwhile ready to race today after their crash in Race 2.
Van Gisbergen was struck head-on by Moffat’s Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore after the Red Bull Holden Racing Team entry was tagged into a spin by Chaz Mostert.
Race 3 of the Coates Hire Supercars Challenge will get underway at 3:20pm local time.