IndyCar stars Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe had a mixed day in their first Supercars race, the Bathurst 1000.
After starting the race on the back row the 26-car grid, the pair took their NAPA Auto Parts/US Concrete Holden Commodore as high as the mid-teens before finishing the race in 19th position, two laps back from winners Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat.
The duo suffered a number of small issues with the car which, at one stage, was beached at the last corner with Rossi at the wheel.
“The brake bias adjuster, we couldn’t use it any more,” he explained. “It got kinda jammed up. It was unfortunate, we could have finished a couple of spots higher up.”
The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner wound up reasonably satisfied with his day. “Content, I suppose,” he mused. “We finished, which was the aim of the day, and there is not much more to say that that.”
Hinchcliffe described his first race at the famed Australian circuit as “A hell of an experience. It was a baptism of fire, having to learn the track and the car, and all at the same time. Huge credit to everyone in the team who got us as prepared as they could.
“There is no way to learn until you get out there. In the race we learned a lot, we got a lot more comfortable in the car.”
The Canadian said that the drivers’ comfort factor aboard the 3300lb, 650-horsepower sedan grew significantly as the race wore on.
“Obviously it is a different style of racing for us. We wanted to have a clean day and be running at the end, which we did. I think we can be proud of a lot of what we did and hopefully, get a chance to come back and do it again.
“As you go through stints and burn through fuel, and the track grip changes, you can’t replicate that, you can’t prepare for it any other way than just going out there and doing it.”
The NAPA and US Concrete-backed entry may not be a one-off but Rossi was noncommittal about a return in 2020.
“I’m not even thinking about that yet. I am just thinking, I am still digesting all of this, and I feel like there is some level of unfinished business.”
On the other hand, when asked whether he would return, Hinchcliffe replied, “Absolutely!”