SPENDING close to 10 hours in a truck just so you can spend even less time in a car - it may not sound like an exciting prospect, but it is a trip that will likely live long in the memory of Brad Schumacher.
Last week Schumacher made the trip from Bathurst to Phillip Island with his Audi R8 LMS Ultra to take part in an official test day for the Australian GT Championship.
The laps the Bathurst driver did will be valuable come the Australian GT Champion season-opener at the same circuit in late February, but that's not what made the trip one to remember.
What did was that Supercars talent Tim Slade was there to test with Schumacher Motorsport. It marked the beginning of a new partnership between the Bathurst team and the highly credentialed driver.
"It's great to have Tim obviously a part of our team now just mentoring me throughout the year and providing me guidance with my driving and of course we are teaming up to co-drive in the endurance races," Schumacher said.
"In the Australian GT there's only the one endurance race at Bathurst, however there's also another endurance race, a four-hour race, which flies under the GT1 Production Sports banner at Sydney in March so we're probably going to look at that as well."
Schumacher said his team had always planned to attend the test day, but there were some nervous moments prior as new COVID-19 outbreaks forced border closures.
Fortunately the number of cases eased enough for Slade to fly in from Queensland and for Schumacher to make the long road trip to the circuit.
It allowed the team to make set up improvements and for Slade to set Schumacher a reference lap.
"With the new SRO [SRO Motorsports Group] regulations you're not allowed to go private testing without written permission, so it's really important to actually make the official test days," Schumacher said.
"When the border closed we were disappointed that we may not have been able to come down, but then when we heard it was opening to regional New South Wales residents from 6am on the 11th, we put in for our permit and were fortunate enough to get one.
"Look it's a blessing to have Tim especially now we're moving up to the top of the GT pyramid here in Australia."
The two-driver Australian GT endurance race at the Bathurst International will see Schumacher join a list including Scott McLaughlin, Lee Holdsworth, Matt Campbell and Jeron Bleekemolen as men who have shared a seat with Slade at Mount Panorama.
It will no doubt be another highlight for Schumacher, while Slade is looking forward to racing and driver coaching.
"I've done a bit with the team in Asia I've raced with for the last couple of years, Hub Auto, I drove with the team owner Morris as a Pro-Am entry and I helped the am's out from a driving sense," Slade said.
"I guess it's sort of a dual role, you get in the car as a pro and do your thing and also there's that element of your job that's coaching as well. I've done pro-am Porsche Carrera Cup races in the past as well."