• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

Wild and Wet Bathurst 1000 Full of Drama in 2017

Loads of drama for most teams at this year's wet and unpredictable Bathurst 1000 – Mr Brian Boyd.

"For the Wilson Security Racing GRM team and the fans the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 100 was a race that started with high hopes, progressed to an almost certain podium and potential win then devolved with a run of bad luck," said PAYCE's Managing Director, Brian Boyd.

Wild and Wet Bathurst 1000 Lives up to its Reputation - Brian Boyd

PAYCE's Managing Director, Brian Boyd said this year's Bathurst 1000 well and truly lived up to the race's reputation for drama-filled racing and unpredictable outcomes.

"The arrival of rain on Sunday and the uncertainty of conditions over the course of the race was a recipe for a memorable race and many stories of what could have been," Mr. Boyd said.

"The previous round at Sandown had shown that many teams were in contention for the second endurance race and that luck in all its forms would be a determining factor in who would be on the top of the podium on Sunday afternoon.

"For our Team PAYCE drivers in the Wilson Security Racing GRM team, the prospects of a good result looked extremely promising, especially after Garth Tander made it into the top ten shootout and put the #33 Commodore ninth on the grid," continued Brian Boyd.

"James Moffat was also looking good in the #34 Commodore and set for a top ten qualifying, only to be bumped down to 22nd when his fastest time was disallowed after he crashed and caused a red flag stoppage to the session."

The Four Day Event Underway with Teams Focused on Setup - Brian Boyd

Brian said the four-day meeting got underway well for the GRM team, with the main focus on trying different setups as this was the first outing for the team's Commodores at the mountain.

"The first practice on Thursday had both cars mid-field, but James Golding in the #33 car quickly got into a rhythm in the practice two, which was for co-drivers only, and put in a 5th quickest time," Brian Boyd recalled.

"Garth backed up that performance with a 4th fastest in the last practice session of the day and the team were justifiably confident of a good weekend ahead.

"Unfortunately, Richard Muscat was caught out as he approached The Dipper in the co-drivers session and contacted the concrete barrier, but the team had the car repaired in time for the afternoon session with Moffat behind the wheel."

Golding and Moffat Crack Top 10 Times in Practice - Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd considered he highlights for the GRM team in Friday's two one-hour practice sessions were James Golding's second fastest time in the co-drivers' session and James Moffat's 8th fastest time in the last session before qualifying. This was also Moffat's fastest time ever around the track in a touring car.

"The 40 minute qualifying session saw Garth Tander quickly up to speed and jumping into second on the timing charts, before slipping down the order. James Moffat was equally impressive and with just four minutes to go.

"James was in 9th place and Garth was 11th. With only seconds left in the session, James made an error and hit the wall, bringing out the red flag and an end to his hopes for a top ten spot, as he lost his fastest time and was relegated to 22nd position on the grid," continued Mr. Boyd.

"In a fortunate twist, this moved Garth up a spot to 10th and gave the team a start in the top ten shootout, albeit James' exclusion was devastating for him and his hard-working crew. Scott McLaughlin set a blistering pace to set fastest qualifying time."

GRM Confident with Both Cars - Brian Boyd

Brian said the good news was that Garry Rogers and his team felt confident they had two cars capable of a good showing on Sunday, and it was not out of the question that they could be in contention for one or two podiums.

"The top ten shootout on Saturday afternoon was again one of the highlights of the meeting, with the question being asked "could the long standing 2003 record lap by Greg Murphy be eclipsed?"

"Garth was first out and set a good initial time without taking risks and the team was satisfied it had a good setup for tomorrow's race," Mr. Boyd offered.

"As successive cars did their runs and conditions cooled, times dropped but Garth had already jumped one position. Last in the shootout was Scott McLaughlin who delivered the fastest ever Supercars lap at the track, logging a 2:03.8312s and displacing David Reynolds' fastest time until then by four-tenths of a second.

Brian Boyd congratulated Scott on his brave effort that saw him run wide at Skyline and kerb hopping through the Esses in setting the record time.

The Scene was set for an Exciting Race Day - Brian Boyd

"Sunday dawned and the rain clouds gathered as predicted. As the cars gridded up, the first spots of rain appeared and teams were faced with their first dilemma of the day – what tyres to start on and who of the two drivers should be in the car," Boyd said.

"There was still a lot of uncertainty about the weather and the condition of the track, but in the end all but a few teams opted to put on ''wets' and have their primary drivers take the first stint.

""As the lights went out and with the rain now set in, all cars made it safely through the first corner as the field began to settle down. The race lead see-sawed through the first half of the race as weather conditions changed, cars left the track and different strategies came into play."

Brian said it was amazing, given the conditions, there was no need of a Safety Car as cars passed one-third race distance.

GRM Cars Move Closer Toward the Leaders - Brian Boyd

"Both Wilson Security Racing GRM cars were travelling exceptionally well and the further the race progressed, the closer they moved towards the leaders," Brian Boyd noted.

"This has been the trend for the GRM team in recent rounds and confirmed that while the cars are not yet at their peak in qualifying, their race trim makes up for that.

"Garth was able to improve on his good starting position and was 8th by lap 16 when he pitted, while James was most impressive in his drive through the field to be well inside the top ten by lap 20.

"With the first of the pit stops and driver changes completed by lap 25, Richard Muscat in the #34 car was in 5th and James Golding in the #33 car was 11th," Brian Boyd continued.

"By lap 55, with the second pit stops out of the way, James Golding had moved up three spots to be 8th and Richard was close behind in 9th."

Safety Car made its First Appearance on Lap 75 - Brian Boyd

Brian said it wasn't until lap 75, that the Safety Car made its first appearance when Scott McLaughlin's hopes of a Bathurst victory evaporated, the #17 Ford Falcon slowing to a halt on the mountain after showing signs of an engine malfunction for several laps.

"The GRM cars continued to hold strong positions and by lap115, when the seven mandatory pit stops had been completed, Tander was in 7th and Moffat was 8th, Boyd enthused.

"On lap 133, both cars took advantage of a Safety Car period to fit slicks after a dry line appeared on track. At that stage, Moffat was running 3rd and Tander 7th.

James and Garth Crash out of Podium Potential - Brian Boyd

"Then with just 19 laps to go, the GRM team was gutted when James Moffat hit the wall at The Grate and brought out the Safety Car, putting an end to a potential podium and what was by far the best drive by James all season."

Brian Boyd noted the GRM team was buoyed by the fact that Garth was up to 2nd with just 15 laps to go, but the bad luck that struck the #34 car was also to hit the #33 car, with Garth slipping off track at turn 23 and then being caught up in an incident at the end of Pit Straight as a group of cars fought for space at turn one.

"Garth was turned around and once again the team was totally devastated after a podium finish disappeared in a flash. Garth battled on mid-pack and was pulling up some places until he collected the wall at The Cutting and all but ended any hope of a good finish," Boyd said.

"He nursed the car back to the pits for repairs and the team managed to get the car back on the track to finish 19th.

"After doing so well up to the dying stages of the race, it was cruel to think the team came so close to a podium and possibly a win," lamented Brian Boyd.

A Well-Deserved Win For Erebus - Brian Boyd

Brian said all credit though and congratulations to David Reynolds, Luke Moulden and Betty Klimenko's Erebus team for their well-deserved win.

GRM "Never-Give-Up" Attitude a Winner - Brian Boyd

"What an amazing race of changing fortunes for Team PAYCE, but Garry Rogers and his team can be justly proud of their hard work and never-give-up attitude through the four days," Brian said.

"All four drivers, the engineers and pit crews gave it their all and will no doubt approach the last three rounds of the championship with vigour and fresh confidence."

On the championship leaderboard, Garth is still in the top ten in 9th place, while James Moffat is in 12th. The Wilson Security Racing GRM team maintains its 4th spot in the Teams Championship.

The next Supercars championship round and final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup is the Gold Coast 600 on 20-22 October -2017

Go Team PAYCE!