BATHURST’S Terry Nightingale made an impressive debut in the V8 Ute series at Mount Panorama over the weekend as he drove the #43 Williams Race Tech Team Trackschool Holden VE to a fine 14th place finish in the final seven-lap race of the round.
Nightingale had not driven a V8 Ute race car before the first practice session on the 6.213 kilometre Mount Panorama circuit on Thursday morning. He was surprised to find just how hard they were to drive.
“We thought the ute would have severe oversteer, but it really had chronic understeer, which I promise gave us some moments on the high speed bends around the top of circuit,” he said.
Together with his race engineer Matt Gough of Adelaide, the 26-year-old completely re-engineered his driving style to adapt to racing a ute.
He started to come to grips with more in each outing over the weekend and in Sunday morning’s third race, he finished 14th.
In the first practice session he stopped the clocks at two minutes, 39.64 seconds on his best lap, then set his fastest time of the weekend in the final race – a 2:35.03 recorded on the penultimate lap.
This time was even more impressive given that the tyres were completely shot, and the effort was almost three seconds quicker than that ute had ever been around the Bathurst circuit. It was also the ute’s best result this year.
Bathurst was to the fore in the rookie section of the meeting with Nightingale finishing second to fellow local Phil Woodbury, a V8 Ute regular this season driving his Wallerawang Engineering Kubota Ford FG.
Nightingale was one of five drivers in the Williams Race Tech team, and was their second best finisher behind the vastly
experienced and well known Victorian driver Kim Jane.
In Bathurst as a guest of Bathurst Regional Council at the Great Race, legendary race driver Leo Geoghegan watched Nightingale in action and then went through his onboard footage from practice.
Geoghegan offered Nightingale some advice and went on to say he believed the local driver has a big career ahead of him in motor racing.
“I’m really pleased with the way it panned out,” Nightingale said.
“We’d love to stitch up a deal to do the next round at the Gold Coast, but longer term I’m already talking to teams about a drive in the full 2015 series.”
Williams Race Tech team owner Wayne Williams was another that Nightingale impressed.
"Fantastic drive all weekend. It was a pleasure to work with you. Another talent untapped. Hope to see you in a ute again real soon mate. Thanks from everyone at WRT," he said.