South Australian Toyota 86 Racing Series rookie George Gutierrez has reflected upon his Bathurst experience positively after a character building round at Mount Panorama.
After a herculean effort to get the Bright Earth Electrical/Plus IT Toyota 86 prepared after a severe incident at Sandown, the team was greeted by poor weather on arrival at Bathurst for practice in support of the Great Race.
Gutierrez took advantage of the wet track conditions to set a qualifying time good enough for third, but as the track dried out dropped to 14th on the grid in the highly competitive 38 car field. Leaving him in the middle of the field where he was once again an innocent victim in a crash that ended the first race of the weekend after just two corners.
“It really wasn’t ideal, especially with the short timeframe and the guys at home to get us to Bathurst, they did an awesome job,” reflected Gutierrez. “There were so many things that were out of our control in the sense that we were waiting for parts, even in the week we came here the car was still on the hoist and the boys were still putting it together.
“There’re a lot of people that I really need to thanks, CMI Toyota gave us the parts and Plus IT, who came on board this weekend.
“To have the crash in the first race was really another kick to the guts, another incident that wasn’t really our fault.”
“Just wrong place, wrong time again. It’s just motorsport, sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
The small family team were able to effect repairs in just two hours, with some assistance from championship leading driver Tim Brook, to get back on track for the second race but once the race started Gutierrez still felt an issue with the car and he parked it to prevent further damage.
“Tim Brook’s crew helped us out after seeing the damage that we had, unfortunately, we had an ABS sensor issue that was giving us problems,” explained Gutierrez.
“We tried to reset it on the grid and Liam McAdam ran all the way his car that was destroyed in the first race to try to rip it off his wheel speed sensor to replace another damaged part, but it was more terminal.
“We’re really just trying to get out there to get championship points, we didn’t even string line the car because of the time constraint between races. It’s one of those things when you’re racing and you try your best.”
The third race of the weekend, Gutierrez scored points and was happy to walk away from the weekend with added experience and a car that will be simple to repair for Newcastle.
“We learnt a lot even though the first three sessions were in the wet, there is nothing that we won’t be able to take back for knowledge later,” Gutierrez said.
“Despite not doing many racing laps, we’ve been able to learn a lot and understand the things that we need to do for next time.”
“This year it has really been just a year of development, learning the data from each track and building on what we can. For us, this year results were just a bonus and to be in the top 10 we were over the moon.”
Gutierrez is ready to line up on the grid for the final round of the Toyota 86 Series at Newcastle on November 23-25.
George would like once again to thank all his sponsors for their continued support.
- Bright Earth Electrical
- Plus IT
- CMI Toyota
- Coffee Amigo
- Digital Marketing Trible
- GP Racegear
Toyota 86 Racing Series 2018 Schedule:
- Races 1, 2 & 3 WD-40 Phillip Island 500 April 20-22
- Races 4, 5 & 6 Watpac Townsville 400 July 6-8
- Races 7, 8 & 9 The Bend SuperSprint August 24-26
- Races 10, 11 & 12 Sandown September 14-16
- Races 13, 14 & 15 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 4-7
- Races 16, 17 & 18 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 November 23-25
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