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HomeNewsBathurstTime to deliver on Bathurst pace for BRT

Time to deliver on Bathurst pace for BRT

THE Blanchard Racing Team last year established itself as Bathurst specialists but the window may quickly be closing to make that reputation count.

At the squad’s debut round, the 2021 Mount Panorama 500, Tim Slade sensationally qualified the #3 Mustang on the front row and was a hunting a podium when he crashed out late.

Significant damage sustained ruled him and the team out of the second leg of the event too, seeing them leave The Mountain empty-handed.

Fast forward to December that year and BRT was at it again, Slade starring in the Bathurst 1000 Top 10 Shootout to grab fourth on the grid.

That just ninth was the final result after 161 laps was an underwhelming outcome – and one which will best be redeemed sooner than later.

That’s given the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 represents the last visit to Mount Panorama with the current-generation Supercars before Gen3 wipes the slate clean, and the last Great Race for BRT before Tim Slade moves on.

Todd Hazelwood has been confirmed to replace Slade next year, who is expected to land at PremiAir Racing.

“We had a very fast car there both times, we were in the mix, but it was also our first ever season,” team boss and co-driver Tim Blanchard told V8 Sleuth.

“Obviously you want to convert the result but being in the mix in your first season is a pretty big achievement in itself.

“We have continued to grow as a team in our second season and we need to start converting that car pace.

“I’m probably a bit superstitious, I don’t like going in saying ‘this is the result we’re going to get’ but we think we have got a fast car, we have some good people and we expect to be at the front somewhere.”

Blanchard expects to be better for the operational lessons picked up during last year’s 1000.

“We have learnt a lot from last year and we’ll try to use those learnings,” he said.

“Even in New Zealand, we’re still learning new things as a team, situations that have come up that had never happened before so there’s still new things that we’re learning and developing as a new team.”

The Slade/Blanchard combination has Mirko De Rosa back as race engineer following his recovery from back surgery.

“It’s critical. Obviously you never want to be without your lead race engineer,” said Blanchard.

“We have had some great people assist us over the last two or three months while he has been out of action but there’s a reason why we rate him highly and everyone is very excited to have him back on deck.”

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