Luff looking to defend Pirtek Enduro Cup

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 01/09/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

He's one of the two defending Pirtek Enduro Cup Champions - but this year he will be pushing to take the endurance trophy teamed with a new partner, in Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander.

Paired with Craig Lowndes at Red Bull Racing Australia last season, a shock announcement revealed Luff was to be replaced by Steven Richards for 2014, who won Bathurst with Ford Performance Racing last year and was considered by some to be the key co-driver in that race.

So, despite earning the most points over the three endurance weekends and four races at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast, Luff was left without a seat.

But he has more than landed on his feet - and with, arguably, his former team's most bitter rival.

Over the past 10 years, Walkinshaw Racing, Triple Eight (Red Bull) and FPR are the only teams to have scored a Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 victory - so it really is a shift from one contending seat to another for Luff.

Set to earn more valuable miles behind the wheel of the #2 Holden Commodore across the team's test days today and tomorrow, Luff feels comfortable and confident he and Tander will be in a position to score more podiums. He's not just focused on beating his old team - crossing the line first means beating every single one of the competitors.

"It's one of those things where it doesn't matter who you're driving for - you want to beat everybody out there," Luff told v8supercars.com.au in the lead-up to the test.

"So as far as I'm concerned, they're (Red Bull) just another team out there.

"They've got great form and everything, so obviously they're going to be one of the teams to beat out there - but ... to win the race we have to beat everybody, it's not just about beating one particular team."

The 38-year old told v8supercars.com.au earlier in the year that it was a dream come true to race for 'Team Red' this time around. For sure, he has landed on his feet after being dropped by Triple Eight - and said at the time he wasn't too hung up on it.

"Unfortunately, that's just motorsport," he said, when asked how he felt about being replaced after the Pirtek Enduro Cup victory.

"You can't get too upset about it. I had a great two years there and had a fantastic result with Craig - obviously the Enduro Cup last year, a Bathurst podium two years in a row was fantastic.

"But now, onwards and upwards. It's great to be here with the Holden Racing Team and I would love nothing better than to get my first Bathurst victory with the factory Holden team ... Garth at Bathurst - he's one of those guys that steps up to that next level at Bathurst, so it's going to be an exciting time for me to pair up with him."

Luff had nothing but praise for the 2007 Championship and three-time Bathurst 1000 winner.

"Garth is one of those guys - it doesn't matter where he qualifies, he's one of those guys you can never write off in terms of race position. You know he's going to put his head down, march on and do the very best that he can.

"He's always one of those exciting guys to watch, he's always charging through the field, so it's going to be a good enduro campaign."

The Holden Racing Team and the sister Walkinshaw prepared HHA Commodore of Nick Percat have seen an improvement of form of late, with wins at two of the last three events and Percat earning his first solo podium in the 200km Sydney Motorsport Park race. Perfect preparation for the Pirtek Enduro Cup, Luff says.

"They're a great bunch of guys and obviously the team is on the up and up. It was great to see Nick get his first solo podium performance.

"The team keeps getting stronger and stronger, and coming into the enduros they are starting to show some really good form."

Luff has already driven the car a number of times, including at the sydney.com Test Day, the team's independent test in June and at ride days.

"I've been really happy in the car," he said.

"Just a little bit of an insert (for the seat) for me because he's a little bit taller, but again it's one of those things where it's important to have two drivers that have a similar setup. I've gelled with how Garth likes to have the car setup, so it's all going on really nice.

"Can't wait to get there at Sandown."

Walkinshaw Racing tests at Winton today and tomorrow, with Ford Performance Racing, Brad Jones Racing and Nissan Motorsport also on track today, and Garry Rogers Motorsport headed to the Victorian track tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Queensland teams Triple Eight, TEKNO Autosports and Erebus will test Tuesday, the first two at Morgan Park and the latter at Queensland Raceway.

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