NTT IndyCar Series drivers James Hinchcliffe of Arrow McLaren Racing SP and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi were in Australia this weekend for their first attempt competing in the 2019 Bathurst 1000 endurance race with Walkinshaw Andretti United Autosports.
The pair driving the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Holden Commodore finished the race in 19th place and speaking following the race the Mayor of HinchTown said:
First ‘1000’ in the books – it was quite an experience all around. We had an okay start, but the first stint was honestly a real handful. The track conditions were quite a bit different than what we had pretty much all through practice with it being really cold and overcast and/or wet. So with the tack heating up, the balance wasn’t quite there. I was working a lot with the tools in the car, so struggled a little bit in that first stint to get things on the right track. Alex jumped in after that and we started to make some progress on the balance. Track grip started to come up with the rubber going down and he had a couple really good stints. I jumped back in and had a couple good stints. But one of the big challenges at that point though is once you’re a lap down, with the blue-flag rules here you loose so much lap time just trying to let the leaders go by. It’s an unfortunate reality, but if you don’t want to do it, don’t go a lap down. We tried to run our race and make as few mistakes as possible. We made a couple little ones, I think that’s to be expected. A lot of more experienced guys made even bigger mistakes than we did, so I think there’s a lot to be proud of from the whole team. It was a great opportunity. I can’t thank NAPA AUTO PARTS Australia and everybody at Walkinshaw Andretti United enough for the chance to come out here and check off a bucket list race.
Alexander Rossi commented saying:
We knew this would be a big challenge. We didn’t come into this with an arrogance that it would be easy. By the same token, we didn’t really come here to finish 19th either so we are a bit bummed about that. Nonetheless, we finished and we finished ahead of where we started so that’s a positive. I think that’s all we can ask for considering where we started the weekend. I think we both got very comfortable with the car throughout the race, and we consistently gained time through each session. The gap between us and the front I think has a lot to do with seat time and overall familiarity with the cars. But, thanks to the 27 crew for hanging in there and to the whole Walkinshaw Andretti United team for the support. It was a long, tough day for everyone. I think the big win of the weekend was introducing NAPA AUTO PARTS Australia to the WAU world and hopefully they had a great weekend with at The Mountain.”