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Meet the fastest driver from the 2023 Bathurst 1000

IN front of the third-biggest crowd in Bathurst 1000 history, a 23-year-old professional sim racer made a name for himself.

Entering the event, Jordan Caruso wasn’t even the best-known driver with his surname – that mantle belonged to Team 18 Supercars co-driver Michael Caruso – but he sure turned heads with his 2:02.5436s lap around Mount Panorama.

Driving a Chevrolet V8-powered Audi A4, that effort secured him pole position for National Sports Sedans, as well as the fastest lap from any category across the entire four days.

“When I crossed the line, it was the first time that I thought, ‘that was pretty sick’,” Caruso told V8 Sleuth of his ‘two’.

ONBOARD: Caruso’s Bathurst ‘two’ in Audi A4

“There’s not many times when you can drive a car like this at a track like this and it all came together pretty well, so it was heaps of fun. The lap felt pretty good. I was still sort of building up to it.

“I had a few laps later in the session where I was three or four tenths up but one thing or another, I would get held up or I would make a mistake or whatever, so I think there is still a little bit more in it.”

The 2:02.5436s marked an improvement of more than 50 seconds on Caruso’s previous best lap at the hallowed circuit, his only prior experience being in a Hyundai Excel on the 2019 Bathurst 6 Hour support card (clocking a best lap of 2:54.0200s).

The 2023 iRacing world champion said it was “surreal” to be quickest around the Mountain four years later, even if he went winless in the three Sports Sedan races thanks to a straight-line speed deficit – particularly to Tony Ricciardello’s Alfa Romeo GTV.

AUDI-CHEV-PORSCHE FORD: The 2023 Bathurst Supergrid

Jordan Caruso chases after Tony Ricciardello. Pic: Ross Gibb

“That’s the beauty and the curse of Sports Sedans,” said Caruso.

“It’s good when it works in your favour and frustrating when it doesn’t, but these things are really fun to drive, especially across the top. It’s just wicked.”

Lurking in the back of his mind was the opportunity to make a mark on the Repco Supercars Championship and Dunlop Series personnel at Mount Panorama.

“Coming into the weekend I knew that pretty cool things can happen in this car,” Caruso explained.

“I knew it was pretty quick and could do a good lap time, so I put the pressure on myself to really try to perform.

“It’s sort of tough in the situation that we are to make a step to Super3, Super2 or whatever it is, but obviously if the opportunity came up, I would love it.

“Exposure and stuff like this can only be beneficial so I’m trying to do the best job I can to make an impression.”

He’ll have another chance to do just that later this month at the Gold Coast 500, which will host the Sports Sedans season finale.

“That’s going to be interesting because I feel like that’s a track that’s very reliant on kerbs and in this car, normally whenever there’s kerbs I stay away from them, I try to be as easy on the car as I can,” he said.

“So it’s going to be interesting, we’re going to have to use the kerbs to extract the pace out of it, so it’s going to be new but the vibe and the atmosphere should be exciting.”

Caruso is known to at least one main game team, having represented Tickford Racing in the Supercars Eseries.

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