Paskin's panorama

November 10, 2022  — 

After what is arguably the toughest test of the Crew Chief GT3 Masters VI, Ian Paskin tells of his ascend & descend of the mountain.

RRL Media:
So Ian, does the word Bathurst fill you with joy or reduce you to a shivering wreck?

Yes, Bathurst is a circuit I really enjoy, the challenge of the mountain really excites me and dancing the car through Skyline and The Esses is such a great feeling.

RRL Media:
I hear you. I find it tends to pull every last bit of performance out of you. How was your build-up and testing during the fortnight preceeding the race?

In the practice sessions whilst not putting in mega fast times had some great consistency,

Over the last couple of races, I feel that I’m understanding the McLaren more and more, and able to carry more apex speed.

Still, with a shoulder injury, I was slightly worried here with the number of quick steering inputs needed, but it wasn’t really a big issue.

RRL Media:
A shoulder injury? Is that just the old body flailing or from something more sinister?

A karting session a couple of months back, I caught a kart up and I heard another kart behind so a quick look behind to see what they were doing, the one in front decided to stop as she was confused where the track went, and I hit her sending the weight through my left arm, causing some rotator cuff and tendon damage, but co-codamol and ibuprofen gel does wonders…

RRL Media:
Thankfully it isn’t stopping you from being part of the MAsters. What was the plan for the race?

The plan going into Bathurst was to get a good clean start and try for a trouble-free race concentrating on steady progression as others faltered.

RRL Media:
And? Did you execute it perfectly?

Well qualifying was difficult after getting a banker lap in I took too much speed into the next quick lap and ran a little wide over the line in-validating the next lap, went for a second run but unfortunately, I had traffic on each subsequent lap.

So starting a little further down the grid than hoped for, but still the plan to get a good clean start and phew I got lucky into T1 missing the mild chaos compared to recent races.

Phew, a close one! André Mol getting spun in the BMW narrowly missing Ian’s Davidoff Gulf McLaren.

In the early laps I tried to bring the tyres in carefully and held my own in p17 for a few laps then started to make some progress, Slowly catching the two McLarens running in front of me, one of TSR’s other team Xander and Sanio were having a squabble up over the mountain, and out of Forest Elbow I got a better exit onto Conrod where we ended up 3 wide, I found myself dipping a wheel just on to the grass but with some Mansell size balls I kept it pinned and passed them both.

3 wide! Ballsy move.

First stint I was holding a solid p12 generally a good position for me, with The Chief, Jim, in front who was slightly quicker but the gap hovering around 3 seconds, so I kept my cool and kept the driving tidy and consistent trying to maintain the gaps in front and behind.

I had a close one avoiding a BMW at Reid Park. Think it was Ives and I took a little wall but was mainly a side-on impact, so the car didn’t feel too bad.

Ives having a moment in the BWM so I took to the right and tapped the wall.

My race strategy was 45/45/30 so at the first stop decided to leave the damage as it was 18 seconds but the car felt ok and although I was possibly losing a tenth or two, I think that was the correct decision.

After the first stop coming out P15 I had Burak chasing me down but keeping my focus up front I managed to keep a good pace going but finally, he got close enough for me to get defensive, As the night fell I feel we were both getting the most from the McLaren at that point, he would catch through The Chase to Mountain Straight, but then over the Mountain I could pull a small gap, so proper cat and mouse laps.

After a couple of runs alongside I managed to hold him off and he finally out-braked himself into Murray’s but this let Jim Britton loose and he got me after a few more laps.

Ian getting defensive with Burak.

Still running a solid mid-pack and enough fuel to only leave a 25-minute final stint I was looking good for around p12 finish, then as the temperature dropped away I started to get some understeer with the fronts losing pressure.

Then I made a mistake… I decided to pit a few minutes earlier than planned and also take tyres, reason for this was so I could add some more pressure, this dropped me back a few places and worse thing the extra pressure added was not enough, and then found myself behind Mark Bosman who I could catch but once close found it difficult in the dark to pick out braking zones so a few mistakes crept in but keeping the pressure on hoping he would make a mistake but he kept his cool and we finished p13 & p14, 3 tenths behind him.

Crossing the line on Mark’s tail.

RRL Media:
That’s a respectable finish at Bathurst. Are you happy with the car and your performance?

Looking back, it was a great race, one of two small mistakes but generally a clean race, In hindsight, I should have not taken tyres at the second stop, but lesson learned there.

Onto Imola, which is my favourite circuit on the calendar

See you next time.

written by: Simon Fillingham