Walsh planning next Supercars move
MOTORSPORT fanatic Ash Walsh is spending Christmas in the United States before hoping to secure his Supercars future.
The Ipswich product is having a holiday with his partner Ellie, spending six weeks in the US and Canada.
After another frenetic motorsport season racing the Supercars endurance series, Carrera Cup and GT Asia competition in Japan, the relaxing trip is welcome.
"It's definitely important to have a break from motorsport and recharge the batteries but in saying that I'm always looking forward to the next time I get back into a race car,'' Walsh said.
The former Ipswich Grammar School student confirmed he was yet to map out his 2017 season after joining the Brad Jones Racing team for this year's three Supercars endurance races.
"I haven't signed a contract yet to go again with BJR but I have talked with Brad about it and we are both keen to continue the relationship so I think we will get something signed in the new year once I'm back from USA,'' Walsh said.
Walsh, who turns 29 next month, linked with the team's number one driver Tim Slade through the enduros.
"I have definitely liked working with BJR. Everyone has been very welcoming,'' the Ipswich-bred racer said.
"Brad and Kim (Jones) do a great job at running the team and I think their lead by example filters through to everyone who works there.
"I enjoyed partnering with Tim and having Julian (Stannard) as our engineer.
"We made a good working group and Tim and I are similar in stature so it made it easier to do seat fittings and get the pitstop side of things sorted easily.
"Brad was very helpful with making me feel welcome and putting his faith in me and mentoring me through the Enduro Cup to get the most out of me.''
Reflecting on his busy season across multiple events, Walsh had mixed feelings.
He said his 2016 Carrera Cup season racing his Porsche was "a little frustrating''.
"We struggled in qualifying throughout the year which made the racing harder than it needed to be,'' he said.
"On the flip side we had great race pace so it would be great to go again next year with Sonic as I feel we have some unfinished business.''
He was more satisfied with his enduro season, working with Brad Jones Racing.
"I really enjoyed my time with the team. I can't say enough about the way they take you in and make you feel like part of the team,'' Walsh said.
"It really helped to get the most out of me in the enduro series.
"Bathurst was a highlight where we were running second only to have an oil fire in the pit stop and go two laps down and come back to seventh place.
"I have to thank Brad and Kim Jones for the opport- unity and Tim Slade for being an awesome team- mate.''
Walsh rated the highlight winning a race and gaining a pole position, racing his Porsche in Adelaide.
"And seventh at Bathurst and eighth at Gold Coast 600 was the best result we got. We were pretty unlucky not to get better results at both Sandown (running third) and Bathurst (running second).''
Walsh also reflected on the lessons of 2016.
"It's hard to put a finger on exactly what I learned this year but it was a good year for me working on getting the most out of myself and working with both my teams to do that,'' he said.
"It sounds like an easy thing to do but definitely easier said than done.
"I was happy with my personal performances throughout the endurance series I felt that the team always gave me a good car and enough information at the right times to make my job easy and I could just concentrate on trying to drive as fast as I could without making many mistakes.''
Walsh recalled a specific moment to learn from.
"I was a little annoyed with myself on Saturday night at the Gold Coast 600 where I left the car in gear during a pitstop which caused us to get a drive through penalty which was my only real mistake throughout the Enduro Cup,'' he said.
Relaxing in the US, Walsh said the holiday had added meaning because it was the first time he'd visited the country.
He and Ellie planned to be in New York City on Christmas Day, hoping to travel that afternoon to Washington DC.
But during this trip, there will be no motorsport racing.