BEHIND the wheel of a car they had never before raced at a track they had not previously done a lap at, Bathurst brothers Blake and Kyle Aubin faced a significant learning curve in the latest round of the Australian Production Car Series.
But it seems the siblings are fast learners.
The Aubin brothers placed seventh outright and first in Class D in the penultimate round of the national series, a four-hour race at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Their Renault Clio beat home the Toyota 86 GTS of Grant Phillips by 0.33 seconds for class honours, an effort which ranked as their first national victory.
“That was pretty tense at the end there,” Blake Aubin said.
“I didn’t realise how tense I was towards the end. We only needed to do one fuel stop and one tyre stop and we figured that out over the weekend, but our numbers got a bit muddled up and we pitted too early to meet Kyle’s driver time.
“So I had to do two hours and then Kyle had to jump in for 15 minutes in the end.
“I just pushed as hard as I could, did some really good lap times and got as much out of the car as I could to bring it home with enough of a gap for the driver change.
“Kyle went out and finished off the last 12 minutes and brought it home for our first national win, which we are really excited about.”
After contesting three rounds of the season in a Renault Megane, the Aubins switched to a Renault Clio for Phillip Island.
In Friday’s practice sessions the brothers, who had only ever raced the Megane in the past, adjusted to the Clio.
Blake ranked 13th in opening practice, while Kyle was eighth quickest in practice two.
Blake drove in the third practice session on Saturday morning and was the second quickest of four Class D entries before going on to clock a lap more than 10 seconds quicker in qualifying.
Sunday’s race saw the #97 Clio start from 15th on the grid, a position the brothers improved on as the four hours ticked by.
By the time the car was pitted for the first time on lap 51, with Kyle handing over to Blake, it sat in eighth with the Toyota 86 two spots ahead.
They took the lead in the class battle on lap 82 when the Toyota 86 pitted, and while Blake had intended to fight it out to the chequered flag, the team realised Kyle needed to get back in the drivers’ seat.
Blake Aubin peeled off his quickest lap of the weekend – a one minute, 54.466 – on lap 97 as he looked to build time to allow for the change.
His efforts paid off as Kyle emerged from the lap 100 stop ahead of the Toyota and managed to stay there.
“We have learnt a lot this weekend driving-wise and with car set-up, so we are really looking forward to Wakefield,” Blake said.