Recently we were able to chat with Erebus Racing’s Peter Hackett. After a stunning drive at the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hours – which saw Hackett and the Erebus Mercedes finish a close second to the factory Audi squad, Hackett went to Adelaide for the opening round of the Sargent Security Australian GT Championship.
He seemed to have carried his from from Bathurst to Adelaide and was in a great three way fight for victory. Until with just a couple laps to go in race 1, he found himself in the wall – and out of the weekend’s action.
Hi Peter – a tough weekend for the Erebus team, you had the pace but not the luck.
Yeah, it was one of those strange situations. A one hour races with backmarkers, handling traffic comes an integral part of your racecraft. Allan [Simonsen] was closing very quickly and I also knew that I only had a lap and a half to defend what would have been a great victory. I was closing in on the Audi. I knew he was there and I also knew that he had been told that the leaders were coming. I was expecting him to hang wide a little bit and I was trying to get the Audi placed between myself and the Ferrari – to give me a little bit of a buffer zone heading into the last lap. Unfortuately in turn 4 the Audi kept coming across on me and I had already committed in the racing zone to get through the corner as quickly as I could. I had committed to put the Audi behind me when I was in the braking zone, when he turned in, it left me nowhere to go.
The first impact broke the steering arm on the car. At that point, I lost the braking and steering on the car and ended up in the tyre wall. It was a disappointing end to what everyone said was a great race.
You then didn’t have the parts to get the car back for race two?
We had a complete arrangement of parts. Unfortunately for us though, we came from the Bathurst 12 Hour race just three days before. We had exhausted all of our resources in the 12 Hour, and the pre-race sessions. It just wasn’t viable to put the car out for race 2. We could have got it out there but safety is a core value of Mercedes-Benz and we wanted a car out the front that was capable of winning, not just cruising around. The team made a decision to wait until we got to the next round.
In race 2, your team mate James Brock had a coming together with Peter Edwards which caused some controversy – what was your view on that?
I was in the commentary box at the time. It was clear to see that SLS had mid corner pace on the Ferrari. The Ferrari was very strong under brakes and very strong on the exits but the SLS had a lot more mid corner pace.
I think what has happened is that Peter Edwards had a bit of a lift in the mid-corner and James was preparing to get a good exit and the two touched. It was an unfortunate incident and I know that for a fact, James didn’t do it on purpose and no one wants to scratch or dent the cars. It was an example of the strengths and weaknesses of the cars at the one point.
I think we have upped the ante a bit in Australian GT – we have had a lot of comments from spectators and other competitors on how good the cars look and how the team is presented in pit lane. I hope to continue that level of professionalism.
Looking to the future – are you happy with Erebus’ new two car team in the GT Championship at the moment?
Yeah it is fantastic. We have a brand new transporter being constructed which we hope to unveil at the next round. We have a brand new workshop being constructed in Victoria – so a new base for Erebus Racing. James has shown some good pace and I am completely comfortable in the car. If you are going to get taken out by a backmarker with a lap to go, it is probably best to do it while in the lead! I think we have upped the ante a bit in Australian GT – we have had a lot of comments from spectators and other competitors on how good the cars look and how the team is presented in pit lane. I hope to continue that level of professionalism.
Thanks Peter and best of luck for Phillip Island.
Interview by Sam Tickell, March 2012
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