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Burgess encouraged by Team 18’s Bathurst form

“SOLID but not spectacular” was the snapshot of Team 18’s return to Bathurst, four months on from hitting rock bottom at the Mountain.

Bruin Beasley, Manuel Sanchez and Julia McGarry all departed Team 18 after a 2023 Great Race disaster in which both cars dove into the pits for fuel in the dying stages (so late in Mark Winterbottom’s case that he was classified a non-finisher).

A well-documented off-season overhaul has brought in fresh leadership and experience in spades, headed up by team principal Adrian Burgess and technical director Geoff Slater.

Recruit David Reynolds proceeded to star in the season-opener, despite hiccups in the Saturday Shootout and Sunday qualifying, to put the team’s Bathurst scars behind them.

Reynolds started and finished inside the top 10 in both 250km races, while Winterbottom recovered from a pair of poor qualifying sessions to place 12th and 14th.

“We can see the potential,” Burgess told V8 Sleuth.

Adrian Burgess. Pic: Supplied

“The changes we’re making are making sense and the drivers can feel it and we can see it in the data.

“We have just got to get Frosty (Winterbottom) up the front starting where he should be. It was a good, positive weekend.

“Still plenty to do, but I think we’ve shown where we can be when we do a good, clean weekend with both cars. I enjoyed it.”

Understanding and making sense have been key themes exuded by Burgess, who noted Winterbottom was upbeat despite playing second-fiddle to Reynolds.

“He’s happy, he knows there is plenty there. The car feels better, so it’s good,” said Burgess.

Adrian Burgess, David Reynolds and Charlie Schwerkolt. Pic: Supplied/Mark Horsburgh

Reynolds was as competitive as any non-Red Bull Ampol Camaro at Bathurst – reflected by equal-fourth in the drivers’ championship – but that’s not enough to satisfy Burgess.

“We’re not here to be second or best of the rest, we’re here to be at the front,” he said.

“It’s a positive start. We know there is plenty more to come, so looking forward to going racing.”

Round 2 will come at Albert Park on March 21-24.

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