Clements' Bathurst dream on track
GOONELLABAH resident Jason Clements has had a long affinity with the "big boys" of motorsport.
It was especially so when he got the chance to whiz around the Eastern Creek circuit in western Sydney in an 860 horsepower machine used at Indy Car level.
"Gary Mein, a local Ballina businessman, found this car for sale in the US," Clements said.
"Al Unser Jnr came fourth overall in it on the Indy circuit in 1986.
"He brought out the car to Australia and I had the opportunity to race it around Eastern Creek at 300kph," he said.
"I've set some records racing all around the east coast of Australia but that's one of the career highlights for me.
"There wouldn't be many V8 Supercar drivers who have had that sort of experience."
Clements, 37, will be in respected racing company again this weekend when he takes to the Bathurst circuit for the first time in his BMW M3.
He will compete in three support races (two over seven laps and one over nine laps) for the Bathurst 24-Hour race.
He will live out his childhood dream, rubbing shoulders with household name and Holden driver Craig Lowndes, who will contest the main event.
"It's a great opportunity for me and something I've wanted to do since I was a little kid," Clements said.
"There will be a total of 55 cars taking part, so if I can finish in the top half I'd be satisfied.
"Our pit station will be right behind the big boys who will drive in the 24-hour race and it'll be exciting to see the international Audi and BMW teams go around."
Clements has raced at Queensland Championship level since 1998, when he started in the open wheels category, before moving on to the Improved Production Touring Car circuit.
Last season he finished fourth overall on the Production Touring Cars ladder, after winning the final race at Lakeside Raceway.
"I was over the moon with that after a pretty tough year," he said.
"Previously I had two engine failures, which cost me points in two rounds.
"But in that race I won, I started from the back of the grid.
"That win will give me confidence to start off this season well.
"Things are looking good, with Penrite Oil and Ryco Filters coming on board as new sponsors."
Clements' new-look BMW will also have signage from his Ballina business, Pacific Garage, this year.
"There have been no major engine changes but we've tidied up the outside of it and it looks good," he said.
"The good thing about last year is that I got faster and set personal bests as the season went on."
The 2012 Queensland Improved Production Touring Car series kicks off at Morgan Park Raceway, Warwick, on March 10-11.