Assaillit reaches off-track hero status
Win, lose or draw, V8 Supercars Wildcard driver Damien Assaillit is already a hero.
Assaillit, who will compete at next weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in the #27 Matthew White Motorsport Ford Falcon BF, is part of the University of Southern Queensland’s elite athlete program called ‘Heroes’ – ordinary students with extraordinary passions – like racing V8 Supercars.
Assaillit competed full-time in last year’s Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series, finishing seventh outright, but due to a shortfall in funding and the pressures of finishing his final year of full-time university study, the only racing that Assaillit has done this year is his Wildcard ride with MWM.
With his Bachelor of Mechanical engineering course almost in the bag, Assaillit has been concentrating on his V8 Supercars Wildcard role at Phillip Island and Bathurst, as the Heroes program allows him to focus on his on-track duties.
“The University support me – both as a sponsor and with my studies,” Assaillit told Speedcafe.com.au.
“I’ve been in their elite athlete program for the last few years. Completing my mechanical engineering course has taught me a lot. There’s a lot of similarities between it and it has evolved my understanding of a race car – the physics of what’s happening. One thing leads to another …
“When I was full-time Fujitsu Series last year, it was a struggle. It is hard enough doing Uni full-time by itself, and then add in racing, fitness and so on.”
After finishing 22nd with Kiwi Ant Pederson at Phillip Island, Assaillit wants the pair to have a good run at Bathurst to propel him into next season.
“Hopefully I’ll have a good run at Bathurst. We were happy with what happened at Phillip Island except for one of the fuel stops,” he said.
“I’d love to get back to the Fujitsu Series full-time next year and win it – that’s a goal of mine, but its still pretty tough finding backers for it.
“Next year, my goal is to drive for a Main Series team in the endurance races.”
Branding of the University of Southern Queensland can be seen on front and rear bar of the Falcon.