Ipswich racer seizes on chance to develop V8 career
ASH Walsh is preparing to put in some overtime as he prepares to defend his V8 Development Series lead in Townsville this weekend.
Walsh has been given the opportunity to drive the practice round in the V8 Supercar Series with his Dick Johnson Racing team, which coincides with round three of the Development Series.
It is the first step for the team to get Walsh accustomed to the car he will drive in the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 in September and October.
It will also give him an advantage over his Development Series rivals with an extra chance to get used to the tricky Townsville street circuit.
"It's about familiarising myself with the car in the lead up to the enduros," the 25-year-old said.
"I'm just excited to be in the car.
"It gives me more track time so I can learn more about the circuit."
Practising against the likes of Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom, Walsh won't be looking to push the pace.
"I'll be on very old tyres so I just want to get familiar with the car and things like the seat position," he said.
"Just get a little bit of a feel."
But Walsh will be out to do much more than just get a feel for the car once racing starts in the Development Series round three.
The round includes one race tomorrow and two on Sunday, with the last on soft tyres.
As series leader Walsh is likely to have a target on his back. He wasn't keen on making any bold predictions about how it would unfold.
"It's going to be clearer once we've had practice," Walsh said.
"We're coming off the back of some pretty good results.
"I'll have to do the little things right and hopefully we're near the front.
"I'd love another round win but I don't want to count chickens."
Walsh is confident his practice day at Queensland Raceway last month has his car in better shape that when he won the last round in Perth. But how it suits the Townsville circuit remains to be seen.
"We learnt a lot more about the changes we made to the car before Perth," Walsh said.
"We definitely know a lot more about what works. But on the street circuit it's a little bit of an unknown."
How the car responds might be an unknown but Walsh is a fan of the Townsville circuit, so will take to it with a positive approach.
"It's one of my favourite street circuits," he said.
"It's got some high curbs, a couple of fast corners.
"You're always busy.
"The straight is only 400m.
"You don't get a rest."
The final race, over 18 laps on soft tyres, will make things even more interesting.
It will be a first for Walsh.
"The guys from the main series will have an advantage because they've run on soft tyres before," Walsh said.
"Hopefully we've already got the points we need by then so I'm not reliant on results.
"I'll take it easy at the start so I'm not asking too much of the tyres.
"I'll definitely only push as hard as I need to and see where I am mid-race."
When Walsh returns from Townsville part of his focus will switch to his annual fundraising dinner at Brothers Leagues Club on July 19.
Walsh hopes money raised from the evening will enable him to complete the Development Series season.