BRODIE Kostecki can't really remember much about the day he made his Bathurst 1000 debut, but come this Sunday when he tackles the Great Race as a lead driver for the first time he is determined to create fond memories.
It was two years ago as part of a Kostecki Brothers Racing Enduro Cup wildcard entry that Kostecki got his first chance to tackle the iconic 161-lap enduro.
He was given the job of starting the entry he shared with cousin Jake, but before he got to do a single lap his Bathurst 1000 soured.
An issue with his in-car cooling system during the warm up lap saw him have to pull the car over and he was taken to the medical centre with carbon dioxide poisoning. While was cleared to race and spent time behind the wheel, the cousins did not complete the race.
"I actually don't remember too much of that day to be honest, that was kind of a bit of a scary one for myself, having that dry ice come into my helmet and trying to put me to sleep," Kostecki said.
"It was before the start of the race on the warm up lap going to grid, so I didn't even make it to the grid
"So it's definitely not a fond memory ... I actually don't remember anything about it."
The following season the Perth native was given another crack at the Bathurst 1000 alongside Anton De Pasquale in an Erebus Commodore.
They placed ninth.
It was a week which helped secure Kostecki a full-time seat at Erebus this season after both De Pasquale (DJR) and David Reynolds (Kelly Grove Racing) departed.
He began his rookie season at Mount Panorama in the Bathurst 500, his highlight being an appearance in the first of two top 10 shootouts.
He placed 11th and 12th in pair of 250 kilometre races.
Since then the 24-year-old has steered his #99 Holden Commodore to 11 top 10 finishes, including a second at Sandown and third at Sydney Motorsport Park.
"It's been really awesome this year to be able to have a car that is able to run up the front and getting a podium early on in the year at Sandown and then to have some pretty good running from then on out," he said.
"We started the year off at Bathurst there for the 250 kay races and I was able to put in the shootout for my first attempt, so I was really happy about that.
"So we're looking to improve on that going into the 1000 and hopefully we can start on the first two rows if possible."
That Kostecki is aiming to make another appearance in the shootout is a sign of how much he has progressed since the Bathurst 500.
Though his talent and potential was clear to see before the start of the season, the young gun has more than proved he belongs in the main game.
Now it's not just about being competitive, now each time Kostecki gets behind the wheel it is with the genuine belief he can get on the podium.
"It's quite funny when we finish 10th place or eighth place in a race we're actually quite disappointed with it - as we should be - but it's moments like that you reflect on and think 'Well it's only really our first year'," he said.
"It's just that type of attitude which has put us where we are at the moment."
Where the rookie is heading into the season finale is 10th in the drivers' championship.
It's a position he could further improve on if he finds success and that is exactly what he is aiming for.
"If eyes are not on the prize there's no point even going," he said.
"Definitely the whole package is there, it's all about execution on the day, so if we can execute well in the race we'll be in a good spot there for the final stint."
Kostecki will share his seat with experienced co-driver David Russell - a man with 11 prior Bathurst 1000 starts - while the pace his Commodore showed across the four consecutive Sydney rounds prior to the Great Race gives him confidence as well.
"Going to those four rounds at Sydney and having a fast car there, being able to contend for a podium most races there was really cool," he said.
"We made some changes with how we go about setting up the car and what not at Sydney and it really showed for the four weeks we were there. We hope that all translates over to the mountain, and if it does it will be a really good race for us.
"It was a no-brainer getting D-Russ on board, he's always been really strong at Bathurst and he's a really good co-driver and has good input as well, so we're really excited."
The Supercars will take to the track at Bathurst for the first time on Thursday morning with two practice sessions, with qualifying to take place on Friday afternoon.
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