Bathurst champ Bright reflects on first win in five years

Bright beat an impressive field to the honour of becoming TCR Australia’s first winner, leading home DJR Team Penske enduro star Tony D’Alberto and highly-rated up-and-comer Will Brown.

It was his first race win in any series since the Pukekohe Supercars round in 2014, back when he was a Brad Jones Racing driver.

The TCR programme, run in conjunction with Supercars squad Matt Stone Racing, is a comeback of sorts for Bright.

After a seven-year stint with BJR, Bright made an ill-fated move to Tickford Racing for the 2017 season. It was meant to be a two-year deal, but at the end of the season Bright was moved aside to make way for Richie Stanaway.

He spent 2018 on the sidelines, apart from a last-minute call-up to replace Matt Brabham at Team 18 for the Supercars enduros.

“I’m enjoying driving again,” said Bright after the history-making win at Sydney Motorsport Park.

“I still enjoy driving, I didn’t give up because I don’t enjoy driving.

“It’s pretty cool [to be a race winner again]. We had a really good period in 2013/2014 with BJR, we were winning races and we were competitive. But that slipped away about towards the end of my time there.

“In the one year with [Tickford] we made good progress all year, but didn’t quite get to the point where we were getting podiums. I needed another year there to push on with it.

“I looked at trying to do Carrera Cup last year, but by the time I tried to pull something together it was way too late. I wasn’t going to go in there half-arsed.

“So when they announced TCR I was really keen to be involved, not just driving but having a team. I’m glad it all came together.”

The 46-year-old added that, despite having nearly a full year off racing, he feels like he’s still in top form.

“I feel like I’m driving as well as I ever have,” he said.

“It was good to just get in a rhythm in the race. At the media day it was just short stints. [Even] coming here this weekend, you’re ragging it and driving flat-out in practice.

“To get in a rhythm, hit your marks and feel what the car is going, that was the best thing about finally getting into a race.”

Bright also said he never ruled out doing more winning, although admitted he expected future victories to come at a lower-level category.

“I always intended to do some more racing, but probably in a Pro-Am sort of category, as opposed to a competitive category like TCR,” he said.  

“I think I can still be competitive and hopefully today I proved it. I hope we can be on the top step a few more times.”



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