Local V8 racer primed for Gold Coast 600
IF Ipswich racer Ash Walsh was feeling any Bathurst letdown, he wasn't showing it.
He heads to the Gold Coast this morning feeling upbeat about his next endurance mission.
"I feel more relieved than anything to get through Bathurst,'' he said, having joined co-pilot Tim Blanchard to finish 15th in the great race.
"It's such a long day and so many things can go wrong.
"I'm just glad we got through and had a pretty successful day.''
Walsh did a triple stint at Mount Panorama, driving for 66 laps in the middle stages at his first Bathurst 1000 two weeks ago.
Today, he ventures to Surfers Paradise for his final endurance series of the season - this weekend's Gold Coast 600.
"It's all looking pretty good,'' he said.
"We haven't had a test or anything like that, but Bathurst was pretty good.''
This weekend will be his V8 Supercars debut at the coast with the Dick Johnson Racing team.
"I really enjoy street circuits,'' Walsh said.
"I think the Gold Coast is amazing. It's got high curves and you really attack every lap. It makes for a pretty full-on ride.''
Some V8 drivers have questioned changes to the Gold Coast track, making it shorter.
"It takes away a few of the passing opportunities but at the end of the day, we've all got the same opportunity to get one over on each other,'' Walsh said.
"It puts more emphasis on the pit stops and your in and out laps from pitlane, and also the strategy.''
Happy with how his team's Falcon performed at Bathurst, Walsh said the main lesson from Mt Panorama was using the pre-race time wisely.
"It's just important to get all the laps in practice and stay out of trouble,'' he said. "Given the time, we should be able to work it out pretty well.''
Teaming with Blanchard for the races on Saturday and Sunday, Walsh faces another challenge when behind the wheel.
"I think because of the crash at Bathurst that (Chaz) Mostert had, and the crash that I had at Sandown (earlier in the year), we're going to be running low on spare parts in the team,'' he said.
"It's going to be pretty important for us to stay out of trouble.''
Walsh, 25, said tactics this weekend would be different from Bathurst.
"It will be my first time in the main series and only my second time ever on the soft tyres,'' he said. "I'm looking forward to it.
"Generally, drivers have pretty good things to say about it.''
Preparing for another hectic weekend, Walsh appreciates the support from Ipswich fans.
"On the race weekends, the Facebook and social media stuff goes pretty crazy,'' he said.
"It makes it enjoyable.
"It's good to see all the different people send you messages and have nice things to say. But also people saying the opposite as well.
"You've got to take the good with the bad.''
His profile will click up another gear today "being the Gold Coast round and DJR being a Gold Coast team.''
Walsh is also running second in the Dunlop Series on 1358 points, behind leader Dale Wood (1586).
The Yamanto-based racer will make a final bid for victory in the last round of that series in Sydney from December 6-8.