Thursday, Oct 10 01:56pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

First laps at Bathurst a “baptism of fire” for IndyCar stars

James Hinchcliffe has detailed a visceral first experience of Mount Panorama at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Hinchcliffe is part of a Walkinshaw Andretti United wild-card entry with Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi this weekend.

The no.27 Holden Commodore ZB finished the first 60-minute session with a best lap time of 2:09.2497 on his 22nd and final lap.

“It’s a bit of a baptism of fire! We were kind of joking earlier it’s kind of like drinking out of a fire hose,” Hinchcliffe said of them trying to get up to speed.

“We have very little car knowledge and zero track knowledge. This is one of the most daunting and challenging race tracks in the world.

“Man, it’s beautiful. It’s everything everybody said it was and then some. It was nice to get a taste of The Mountain and we’ll see where we can go from here.”

Unsurprisingly, the pair were at the bottom of the pile, albeit only a few seconds adrift of the top time set by David Reynolds. Hinchcliffe only has one prior competitive outing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2012. Meanwhile, Rossi has never raced a Supercar before.

“The top of the mountain is very quick. There are a lot of high commitment places, and without any experience here, it’s building up to it slowly.

“We have a decent amount of practice time to get there so I think the main focus today is not to go overboard and not get ahead of ourselves. Everything in the car was running smoothly. The team has done a great job preparing us. We’re just going to take it one lap at a time and see how it goes.

“We can sit here and look at all the on-board and all the data that you want, but until you get out there and experience something, certain things just don’t make sense.

“Alex and I speak the same language. We’ve worked together before. To be able to give him some of the quick lessons I’ve learned and then hopefully speed up his learning curve – that’s the cool thing about this format is having two guys being able to get in the car and help each other.”


Photo: Supercars