The Barbagallo Raceway weekend will forever be very special for me, becoming the most successful driver in Australian V8 Supercar and Touring Car history is not something you will forget.
Winning the Saturday race, the 91st of my career, put me ahead of Mark Skaife on the all-time list. It was great to have Mark there in victory lane to celebrate with- we had a lot of success together as team mates, including winning at Bathurst in 2010.
To finally pick up the win is a great relief, the record has been there in the back of my mind this year, and a fair bit has been made of it lately in the media.
We started out the year so strongly with the win at the Clipsal 500 to draw level on wins, but since then we’ve had some tough times at Symmons Plains and Pukekohe. To bounce back like we did at Barbagallo really is a credit to the whole team.
With the new COTF spec chassis, we lost a bit of direction with setup. But a massive amount of work by our engineers now has us back on the pace, with our form on the soft tyres over the weekend especially heartening. There’s a lot of difference between the new and the old cars, especially in the rear end behaviour, so finding the right balance is the key.
While it’s nice to enjoy the record now, it’s something that will likely be beaten in time, and on current form it will probably be Jamie. Over the weekend Triple 8 Race Engineering registered its 100th victory as a team, and we scored our first one-two result as Red Bull Racing Australia. So there was a lot to celebrate!
From a personal standpoint, I guess my next goal is to get up to 100 victories… I plan to be around for a while yet, hopefully we can get there soon!
An awful lot has changed in the Championship since I started full time in 1996. V8 Supercars as a whole is now incredibly professional and competitive, and the quality of the events has really grown with the sport.
I still get a lot of enjoyment from the racing, travelling around the country meeting new people, and I’m probably appreciating it a lot more as times goes on.
Our next piece of travel is to a new destination for the Championship- Austin, Texas, and I can’t wait.
The Circuit of the Americas looks like a brilliant facility, and should be a good showcase for the category. Hopefully the USA-based fans take a liking to what we have on offer… I think the cars and the racing will be very appealing to them, as V8 Supercars is seen as a cross between sports cars and NASCAR.
Also making it a bit easier for the local fans is our VF Commodore, which is racing this year in the premier NASCAR Sprint Cup Series under the guise of the Chevy SS, so there will be a level of familiarity with the cars.
The time zone differences means that there are going to be some early morning starts for everyone back in Australia… so set those alarms, it’s going to be worth watching!