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BRT boss details historic day

THE Blanchard Racing Team has celebrated a successful shakedown for its Gen3 Ford Mustang at Winton.

Such was the progress made by the one-car squad, they were able to send driver Todd Hazelwood out for a last-ditch, performance-focused stint.

That came only after frantic efforts by the BRT crew to get the #3 CoolDrive Mustang on track one last time before the 5pm AEDT deadline but ensured they’ll have additional data to sink their teeth into during the coming days.

MORE: BRT reveals Gen3 livery at shakedown

“Today was just about getting mileage on the car and learning a lot about it and I think we achieved that,” BRT team principal Tim Blanchard told V8 Sleuth.

“There were no major issues, a few little minor teething issues which is obviously expected with any new car, but really pleased with how it went.

“We put the car back in the truck tonight with a whole lot of knowledge.

“Everything kind of went to plan for most of the day.

“We got to an hour to go and had got through most of the stuff we wanted to get through, so we actually started to play around with a few performance-related things.

BRT became the first team to run a Gen3 race car. Pic: CoolDrive Auto Parts

“Engineers get pretty excited when they get to start doing that. Mirko (De Rosa) enjoyed throwing some things at the car.”

With 62 laps in the bank, BRT is now eyeing another visit to Winton on February 7 to continue maximising its learning curve.

While it’s full steam ahead to Round 1 in Newcastle, Blanchard made a point of not forgetting what a special day it was for his third-year team as it became the first to run a non-prototype Gen3 Supercar.

“You can’t underestimate the work everyone involved has done across BRT and CoolDrive to get to this point,” he said.

“I was in the car obviously, but I think there were a few teary eyes as the car drove out this morning (for the first time), so that was great to see here.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for everyone involved and they should be really proud.”

This season marks a full circle for Hazelwood, whose first Bathurst 1000 came in CoolDrive colours in 2017.

Todd Hazelwood with his #3 Mustang. Pic: CoolDrive Auto Parts

“It has certainly been a journey up until this point,” the former Matt Stone Racing and Brad Jones Racing driver told V8 Sleuth.

“The way that the team has supported me ever since I’ve come down here to Melbourne, they have been super welcoming.

“Tim has gone more than out of his way to make sure that he can support me as much as possible and I can put full focus into being a racing car driver, which I probably have never really had that style of opportunity before in the sport.

“For me to be able to put my time and energy into that is really cool and even today I felt mentally and physically prepared better than I have for a long time behind the wheel.

“Hopefully that in itself will give me some great confidence and with that a great opportunity to kick some goals throughout this year.”

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