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HomeNewsRipping Yarns: The trick behind Gardner’s gun start

Ripping Yarns: The trick behind Gardner’s gun start

V8 SLEUTH is celebrating the festive season with a series of great racing tales from the Motorsport News archives.

Today’s story was told by ex-Wayne Gardner Racing team manager Alan Heaphy for the 400th edition of MN in 2010.

THERE are some great tales to be told from Touring Car racing around the world, but many can’t be told.

Like, the time we had with Wayne Gardner Racing in 1995.

Wayne qualified on the second row at Bathurst that year and led the race into the first corner, and for a few laps until the tyres started to fade.

Alan Heaphy, pictured in 2001. Pic: an1images.com / Andrew Hall

It was an impressive start, particularly considering that the Commodore had a long ratio in the diff, 120 litres of fuel and was particularly tricky to get off the line.

What we had done was fit a windscreen washer bottle in the back, and we told Wayne to hit the button for the first eight seconds of the race.

That gave his enough wheelspin to get rolling, and that is how he made such a good start. It was like traction control, in reverse.

The windscreen bottle was banned quite soon after that!

Years before that, I was working with Nissan’s ETCC program, and we were racing at Vallelunga.

The Allan Grice/Win Percy Nissan during 1988. Pic: Nissan

The car was playing up in the first stint, and Allan Grice arrived for the first pitstop.

Howard Marsden was running the team, and we needed to change the software in the car’s ECU to fix the problem – but in those days, you needed to dump the old program before you could upload a new one.

So I am on my knees on the floor of the left side of the car with a laptop, I get rid of the old program and before I can load a new one, the laptop dies!

The tyre guys had unplugged the laptop to plug in their tyre warmers, so the car was sitting there, dead, with nothing in the ECU.

I have never heard Howard swear. I don’t think any ever had. I told him what happened, he paused for a moment and then said, ‘Horse Manure!’

MORE: Wayne Gardner on the V8 Sleuth Podcast

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