GC600 format to open overseas racing doors
The international co-driver format employed at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 will help create opportunities for V8 Supercars stars to compete in other categories overseas, says Jason Bright.
While remaining committed to his full-time V8 Supercars Championship program with Team BOC, Bright is keen to race in one-off sportscar events in the future.
Bright drove for Aston Martin Racing in the 2006 Sebring 12 Hour alongside Frenchman Stephane Sarrizan, who he was reunited with at the weekend’s Gold Coast race.
“Having the international drivers like Stephane here definitely inspires you to look at whatever opportunities are available overseas, and there’s a chance that it could open up some doors for us as well,” Bright told Speedcafe.com.
“For a series that’s thousands of miles away from America and Europe, it’s easy to go unnoticed by all of the overseas teams until they see their regular drivers up against our drivers and realise how competitive it is out here.”
Bright finished second in class at Sebring in 2006, but had his chances of racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours dashed when a late V8 Supercars calendar change meant he could not make the vital pre-event test.
With the Le Mans race itself set to clash with the Hidden Valley V8 Supercars event next year, co-ordinating schedules continues to be the biggest hurdle.
“The Sebring race was a fantastic experience, and I’d love to have another crack over there whenever we can make something fit in,” said Bright.
“The hard part is that our calendar is getting busier every year. We have 16 races next year between February and December, which makes it hard to go over there and get in the right amount of testing.
“But nothing is impossible. It’s about finding the right opportunity and making it work.”
While slotting straight into a factory Peugeot race seat alongside Sarrizan appears unlikely, Bright says that racing a Le Mans Prototype rather than in the GT classes isn’t out of the question.
“With the right amount of testing in the lead up it wouldn’t be a problem (racing a prototype), but they’re not the sort of cars you can just jump into, and Brad Jones proved that in the Audi,” said Bright, referring to his now team boss’ last-minute call-up to the Audi Sport Team Joest squad for Adelaide’s ‘Race of a Thousand Years’ in 2000.
“Stepping straight into one of those cars in a race situation would be no good, but with the right amount of testing to build up your neck muscles and get used to the cars, it wouldn’t be a problem.
“It was the same when I drove the Aston. Even in those, one day’s testing was very physical for your neck, so you wouldn’t jump into a race scenario without doing several test days.”
Bright and Sarrizan recorded a 21st and a DNF in the weekend’s two races, leaving Bright 10th in the championship standings.