ENCOURAGING DEBUT FOR NEW SHANNONS AMC JAVELIN AT CLIPSAL 500 MEETING.
3 MARCH 2015
Jim Richards has come away from the opening round of 2015 Touring Car Masters series delighted with the first up performance of the new Shannons AMC Javelin which has taken two years to build.
The team had to start from scratch after the original car was badly damaged at Sandown forcing Richards to source a new shell and start again.
“The reason it took so long is that I was still contesting the series in the trusty Falcon Sprint which required ongoing maintenance so the build programme only progressed when I had the time”. said the former Pro Series TCM champion.
Prior to Adelaide the new car had only completed an eight lap shakedown at Sandown so when the car came out for practice at the Adelaide circuit that was the first time the car had turned a wheel in anger.
The first practice session on old tyres saw a mid field time but the object of the exercise was to establish how the car was running and handling rather than outright speed.
The team elected to miss the second session due to a tyre issue but come qualifying when it mattered Richards recorded the fifth fastest time just eight tenths of a second slower than pole man John Bowe in the Mustang.
In the first race Richards had a clean run and made up two positions to finish third which meant he would start from 14th position in the reverse grid top 50% finishers from race one.
On lap one there was a four car crash involving Jason Gomersall ,Brett Youlden , Glenn Seton and John Bowe which bought out the safety car.
Richards escaped the melee and was content to stay out of trouble and come home in 11th position which meant he would start from grid position six on accumulated points in the final race.
The race was incident free and again Richards took a more conservative approach to finish in 8th position and 6th overall on points for the weekend.
Andrew Miedecke was the overall winner for the weekend from the returning Gavin Bullas ,Eddie Abelnica ,Cameron Tilley and Keith Kassulke.
Speaking on his return to Melbourne Richards said he was extremely happy with the car. “I know there is a lot more to come from the car and I have no doubt there will be a similar improvement from the driver. We were not that far off the pace of the front runners and I’m confident the potential is there to mix it with those guys”. said the multiple Bathurst winner.
“The good news from the weekend is that we came away with an unmarked car on a circuit that can cause plenty of damage and all we need to do for Symmons Plains is change the diff and gearbox ratios”. said Richards.
The next event for the four time Touring Car champion is the three 8 lap races on the Australian Grand Prix support programme for Group C and A touring cars where Richards will drive his 1990 championship winning HR31 Nissan Skyline that he has owned for three years.
“I’m really looking forward to racing the Nissan again ,especially on the Grand Prix circuit ,and I’m expecting it to be pretty tough as there will be 45 cars on the grid which will be fantastic for the fans”. said Richards.
The other very pleasing news is that Richards was recently honoured by CAMS at their National awards night in Sydney with the presentation of the prestigious Peter Brock Award for epitomising the wonderful values that the late champion displayed during his illustrious career.