I'm taking on the fearsome mountain - Mount Panorama, Bathurst.
On Saturday I'll be taking part in my first ever Bathurst 12 Hours on iRacing - only the 5th special event I've ever done. Before now, I've completed three Daytona 24 Hours, and one 24 Hours of Spa - my results have never been the best - these races are incredibly tough, and as you can imagine, you're likely to get involed in some contact one way or another over 24 hours...
With the Bathurst 12 Hours only being half of the time-frame, you'd think it'd be easier to complete without coming to any sort of issues... no. If you know Bathurst, you already predicted where I was going with that, surely?
Bathurst is an very unique circuit - it's basically a mountain with a race-track draped over it like a piece of wet spaghetti, but let me tell you - that be some M&S Spaghetti. 70% of the track is very narrow, with unforgiving concrete barriers either side, and the odd catch-fence. There's high kerbs, big bumps, sudden drops and long straights, and all within a 2-minute lap. It makes you feel rather alive.
A recent illness has put doubt in my mind about my competitiveness, but 90% of the Bathurst 12 Hours is just surviving until the end - it's a lot harder to do here than at somewhere like Daytona.
I'll be contesting the race with CQR Club - my first Special Event with them since joining in February last year (sorry guys!). My teammates will be Morgan Butler and Chris Coghlan - both of which, like me, have limited experience of these events. This will either play into our hands well, and we can all take it as a positive learning experience, or it will do nothing but highlight the ferocity of these races.
Either way, I'm excited to be taking part and finally doing some serious driving for the team again, after my media work took a lot of my priorities over December and January.
The race will start at night and end in the mid-afternoon, so the first part of the race is bound to be the hardest, when the whole field is bunched up and there's minimal visibility - Bathurst isn't exactly bathed in floodlights like the Singapore Grand Prix. As the grip goes away and the track heats up, things will get more and more difficult, but it's all about keeping that in your mind and just nursing the car around, rather than pushing it to the limit all the way.
On to "Miss Piggy" - the BMW Z4 GT3. It's an absolute marvel of aerodynamic pornography - big wings, huge arches and those evil eyes - she's a looker. Combine it with a fantastic livery from my teammate and friend Jake Blackhall of Knight Rider Designs, and it only gets better! Underneath she's running a setup that the guys have put a lot of time into - I'm very grateful to be running it, as without it I'd be nowhere pace-wise.
Wish me luck!