In its second Bathurst 1000, the Nulon Racing team has secured a personal best result of 10th with the #31 Nulon Racing Camaro of Jimmy Golding and Dylan O’Keeffe, while the #23 Movember Racing Team Camaro of Tim Slade and Jonathon Webb wasn’t far behind with P13.
“It was a huge day here at Mount Panorama and I couldn’t be more proud of our drivers and our crew for their commitment and dedication across the entire day and the entire weekend,” Nulon Racing Team Manager, Stephen Robertson, said.
“While of course we encountered some challenges, our drivers kept their noses clean and put in really consistent and strong performances on the track all race long, while in the pit lane our crew were faultless on their pit stops – so much so that they were even praised by the commentary team – and neither car suffered any mechanical issues which in a race as gruelling as this, is something to be proud of.
“10th and 13th today also gives us the points to move up one spot in the Supercars’ Teams’ Championship to 7th position, which is a good extra reward for our efforts.
“This is a personal best result for our team here at the Great Race, and spurs us on to the pointy end of the season, starting with the Gold Coast 500 in just under three weeks’ time.”
See below for quotes from the Nulon Racing drivers
The #31 Nulon Racing Camaro started from fourth on the grid with Golding at the wheel, moving to P3 off the start and holding this position for the majority of the first hour, before this entry was the first of the lead pack to head to the pits, resuming with O’Keeffe at the wheel in 21st and quickly moving up to P12 as pit stops continued.
The #23 Movember Racing Team Camaro started the race from P18 with Webb at the wheel, who maintained position until late in the first hour before a short off-track excursion after going wide at the base of The Chase. He recovered quickly without any contact and was able to pit a few laps later for Slade to take the wheel on lap 19, resuming running in P25.
The first of a flurry of safety cars soon began, with O’Keeffe – who was P8 at the time of the safety car boards being shown – ending up leading the field under the safety car, before settling into P5 after the restart. Another safety car was soon called on lap 38, under which both the #23 and #31 pitted in a double stack, with Webb jumping in the #23 while O’Keeffe stayed in the #31 before being impeded on his exit from pit lane by the #6 which received a five second penalty as a result.
On the restart, O’Keeffe was P8 and Webb P21, with both maintaining position while enjoying some great battles, eventually working to P7 and P16 respectively for the close of the second hour.
Across lap 60 and 61 the pair stopped again, with the #31 in first for tyres, fuel and a driver change, as well as a rear ride height change, with Golding taking charge, while the #23 pitted one lap later, with that entry taking tyres, fuel and a driver change, with Slade jumping back in.
This left Golding and Slade in charge until lap 70 when the third safety car of the day was called, where the decision was made to again double stack with both cars in the window, with the #23 having track position and therefore pitting first. Unfortunately, after having already lost time trying to get into the pit lane due to the #6 blocking the pit entry, Golding was then forced to wait a little longer when the #23 stalled upon being dropped before handing over to O’Keeffe.
The team started the fourth hour P11 for Webb and P20 for O’Keeffe, and with no further safety cars, Webb and O’Keeffe put in great drives to maintain and improve position, before handing over to Slade and Golding on laps 89 and 92 respectively, with them rounding out the fourth hour in P8 and P9 respectively.
Golding soon passed Slade for P6 and then momentarily moved into P5, while Slade was P7. The #23 pitted from that position on lap 111 for tyres and fuel as well as the required brake pad change, with Slade staying in the car. The #31 then completed its pad change stop on lap 114 from P6, and while the car stalled on the drop, the performance of the crew during the change was such that commentary hailed it as the best pad change they had seen so far that day.
To close out hour five, Golding was P10 and Slade was P14, with 33 laps remaining.
The final pit stops of the day for Nuon Racing came on lap 136 for Slade from P13, while Golding pitted two laps later on 138 from P6, with both drivers staying in their respective cars, resuming fuelled to the end in P10 (Golding) and P15 (Slade). It was a particularly big stop for Slade, incorporating not only tyres and fuel but also a rear anti roll bar change and a rear ride height change.
Across the final laps, Golding maintained position while Slade worked hard to advance from P15 to P13 by the time the checkered flag flew at the close of 161 laps.
Golding and O’Keeffe’s P10 finish in the #31 Nulon Racing Camaro is a personal best Bathurst 1000 result for the team and the drivers, following their P12 finish at last year’s race.
“We showed good speed and stayed out of trouble. It was awesome to have such good qualifying pace and race pace,” Golding said.
“It wasn’t a easy race, there were a lot of marbles off line, a lot of dirt and stuff being thrown around, so you had to be on your toes! But we kept our nose clean and brought the car back in P10.
“There are a lot of positives to take out of the weekend and we can’t wait to get into the next one at the Gold Coast.”
“I had a great time partnering with Jimmy with the Nulon Racing team. It was fantastic to be back in a Supercar and I had a lot of fun – there’s nothing better than being in the Bathurst 1000,” O’Keeffe said.
“Of course, today wasn’t without its challenges, but that is Bathurst. I got into the car and felt really good and comfortable right away, but that only lasted about five or ten laps because then there was a safety car, and it was all thrown out the window!
“It was good fun though and keeps you on your toes. I really enjoyed shadowing Jimmy all weekend and being back with the Nulon Racing team. It was great to be with them again and I had a lot of fun – hopefully we can do it again in the future. There are a lot of positives we can take out of today and the team did a remarkable job and are looking strong for the rest of the season.”
By finishing P13 in the #23 Movember Racing Team Camaro, Slade and Webb ensured they finished the race five places better than they started.
“It was a tough old day for us, but we stayed out of trouble and finished 13th,” Slade said.
“We capitalised on a few other people’s misfortunes, but ultimately, we just struggled with pace and tyre life.
“Jono did an amazing job, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him both here and at Sandown, so thanks very much to Jono.
“Thanks also to the team, I think procedure-wise everything went pretty smoothly today and that was due to a lot of hard work and training. And obviously there was no failures with the car either, so thanks very much to the team.”
“A massive thanks much go to everyone – including to Tim for putting up with me for the last couple of weekends,” Webb added.
“I have had a lot of fun. Sandown was a really good run for us, and we were hoping to be in the top ten here today, but it wasn’t quite to be, but I think we showed the team has been working their butts off and having massive improvement.
“The whole group is getting better and better, and I have to say thank you to Nulon Racing for having me along for the endurance season.”
The team’s attention now turns to Dragway at The Bend where team owner Peter Xiberras will contest the opening round of the Australian Top Fuel Championship in the PremiAir Racing Top Fuel Dragster at the brand-new facility across October 21-22 – one week before the Supercars team descends on the Gold Coast for the Gold Coast 500 across October 27-29. For event information, visit www.thebend.com.au and www.supercars.com.au
For more information on Nulon Racing, please visit www.premiairracing.com or follow the team on its social media platforms at www.facebook.com/PremiAirRacing/, www.instagram.com/premiair_racing/, www.linkedin.com/company/premiairracing/ and www.twitter.com/premiairracing