We had another great experience at Mt Panorama on 20-22 February 2009. It was amazing to have the chance to race there once in 2008, and fantastic to have the opportunity to race there a second time in 2009.
This year we are allowed to use the 17" wheels and tyres on our older model car. We are also using E85 fuel which is 85% ethanol and gives the horsepower of expensive racing fuels for a fraction of the price. These two changes (coupled with 12 months more experience driving) resulted in lap times almost 4 seconds faster than 2008.
In practice I was 36th out of 51 competitors with a best lap time of 2:53.9331, and I qualified 41st with a time of 2:56.6296 early in the session before damaging the car by side-swiping the wall at Forrest Elbow. A few hours of repairs were needed to patch up the right front suspension for the races the next day.
I finished race 1 in 38th place, setting a best lap time of 2:51.7163 in the process. Race 2 was even better with a 36th placing and lap time of 2:51.1286. I finished the weekend by volunteering for flag marshall duties during the 12-hour race on Sunday. I had a good spot on Conrod Straight and saw some good racing.
After this event we flew from Sydney to Argentina for a 3-week holiday. Unfortunately we missed round 1 of the SA State Championships while we were away.
We headed back to Mallala for round 2 of the state series on 2-3 May 2009. I was more excited than usual about this meeting, as it was the first time to try the 'new improved' VN Commodore at our home track.
The lap times lived up to the hype: most of the weekend I was doing 1:23s, including one race where every lap was a 1:23.2. I finished 4th out of 5 cars in qualifying and all 5 races. This was the first time I had managed to beat Scott Clements' time in my car from last year, although of course the car is a bit better than it was 12 months ago.