JJ: Fresh engine for car 888

In just a little over a week’s time Mt Panorama will roar to life with the sound of 640bhp V8 motors as the V8 Supercars return and Red Bull Racing Australia takes to the world-famous circuit for the first time.

And is there any better way to enter the 1000km Bathurst epic than as one-two in the championship?

We think not… Then there’s the fact Red Bull Racing has the Gods on its side – well, an incarnation if said Gods were fuel-thirsty rev-heads. ’Cause up here, on this little mountain, three hours west of Sydney, it’s Craig’s country.

You might know him as Lowndesy, Crackers or Cappy even. But in Bathurst town, they just call him King of the Mountain Jnr.

His popularity knows no end, nor do his similarities with one Peter Brock.

And with five Bathurst 1000 titles to his name as he continues to hunt down Brocky’s record, we thought we’d best catch up with the man who holds Lowndesy’s fate in his own two hands – the No.888 race engineer, Jeromy “JJ” Moore.

JJ was the man behind Lowndesy’s last win on the mountain with Mark Skaife in 2010 and on the back of a podium finish in Sandown, JJ is adamant the five-time winner will have all arsenal at his disposal come next weekend.

“We’re actually taking a fresh motor and a few other bits and pieces into Bathurst, so we’re in really good shape,” JJ says.

“Sandown went well for us and it was a good indication of where the car was at. Obviously Jamie had some real pace there and we’ve been able to use that experience to get a bit more out of Craig’s since.

“Both boys are looking really good as we finalise preparations.”

Both cars tested at Queensland Raceway last week but with limited tyre stock and the fact QR doesn’t resemble the challenges of Bathurst in the slightest, JJ says the sessions were more for the benefit of the team and co-drivers than Lowndesy and J-Dub.

“We tested everything and anything that can go wrong at Bathurst,” JJ continues.

“The track was really hot and dusty and we had practice doing tyres, brakes, batteries, clearing splitters and anything that can go wrong during a pit-stop at Bathurst.”

So we can assume you practiced kicking out windscreens, too?

“Haha. We forgot about that one,” says JJ, in reference to Lowndsey’s infamous 2005 run when he was forced to race without both his front and rear windscreens following a freak collision with a rogue tyre.

“We might have to practice that one on someone else’s car. We really should have been on top of that. Haha.”

In all seriousness though, JJ says the preparation on car No.888 couldn’t be going any smoother.

“The car’s fresh, we’ve had plenty of time together to perfect all things necessary and until practice on Thursday, we won’t know any more,” he says.

“We’re definitely better prepared than last year and everyone is motivated and excited at the same time.

“It’s actually going to be interesting to see how these cars go down the straight because no one has really gone any faster than 265km/h this year. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see some records broken at some stage. We know a lot more about these cars now and if Sandown is any indication, we should be really quick on the mountain.”