Meet the 2022 Bathurst 1000’s new hometown hero
Tuesday 31st May, 2022 - 6:03am
The average motorsport fan might never had heard of Michael Anderson until four days ago when he was named as a surprise starter in the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 aboard a Dick Johnson Racing-built Mustang.
Anderson most notably has run a Dunlop Super2/Super3 Series team for a number of years, providing opportunities for young guns such as Jayden Ojeda, Tyler Everingham, Declan Fraser and Brad Vaughan, in addition to himself getting behind the wheel at times.
The 36-year-old father-of-two is a Bathurst builder, raised in the town which plays host to the biggest Australian motor race of the year.
His first memory of the Great Race involved him and his father seeking Dick Johnson’s autograph.
Racing-wise, he has competed on two wheels and four, and was a regular in Historic Touring Cars events before moving into the Supercars feeder system.
So, what inspired him to now suddenly have a crack at taking on the best of the best on the biggest stage?
“Basically it came about last year; I went back into a Super3 car at the time, I just wanted to have another steer,” Anderson explained to Speedcafe.com.
“We won at Bathurst last year in February in Super3, I felt good and went to Townsville, won in Townsville.
“I just felt like I had good genuine car speed and just wanted to go on with that and then started towards the end of last year thinking I’m actually enjoying the driving.
“Like every go-karter coming through or kid racing an Excel, whatever you’re doing, you want to race in the 1000.
“And then an opportunity came about through a mate of mine to buy a Mustang and then after talking to Ryan [Story, Shell V-Power Racing Team executive chairman], we have come up with a deal to run a wildcard.
“So that’s basically it; it’s the ultimate goal for any Australian to run a 1000.
“To be honest with you, I thought my time had probably come and I wouldn’t run, but a bit like anything, you have got to make opportunities happen and that’s exactly what I have done here.”
It remains to be seen who will share the car with Anderson, who yesterday completed a handful of laps at Queensland Raceway as part of a handover.
“There’s a lot of cars up and down the grid but I reckon I would have one of the four best cars, I’d say, on the grid,” he said.
“Now we just have to make our test days count and get off on the right foot.
“Definitely going into Bathurst we need to lean into it. Like you look at the Ojeda/Everingham one [in 2020], on the Thursday and Friday they were doing 2:09s, and then worked their way forward.
“That’s basically the goal: we want to start comfortably, we need to get a good set-up in the car between the two drivers and work forward. We just want to work into it slowly.
“Being that I raced there twice last year in a [Super3] Supercar, the aero and the car might drive a little bit different but power-wise it’s not that much different to what we’re currently running. It’s just a matter of getting our head around it.
“I feel there or thereabouts with speed. Looking at [2021 starter Russell] Ingall, looking at his age and that sort of thing and he hadn’t raced a car for a long, long time, where I’ve come out of racing Bathurst last year in a Supercar.”
Although his Gen2 Mustang will no longer be eligible for the top tier of Supercars racing beyond this year, Anderson isn’t 100 percent limiting this to being his one and only 1000.
“I didn’t think it would be one… you don’t know what the future will hold to be honest,” he said.
“I’m working from here until October and that’s as far as I know.”
Anderson’s Mustang is set to be campaigned in Super2 next season, whether by himself or another driver.