Jesus Racing, one of the front running Ford teams in the Auto One V8 Ute Championship, is changing camps (or 'converting') as it prepares to take part in the 2013 Muscle Car Masters event with the Touring Car Masters.
The team will campaign a Holden SL/R 5000 L34 Torana at the upcoming event and will no doubt create a huge impact with the Holden fans as it will campaign the car in the original Marlboro Holden Dealer Team livery run by Colin Bond and John Harvey - of course the tobacco branding will be replaced by the name of JESUS!
The four door Torana is owned by regular Master Tony Edwards however Andrew "Fishtail" Fisher, who drives for Jesus Racing in the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series, has been seconded to pilot the car at Round 5 of the classic series at Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) on August 30 - September 1.
Alex Bakasetas from Jetpac Dezign has done a fantastic job of exactly mimicking the fonts, colours and striping of the original 1970's touring car. The black Marlboro font is now JESUS RACING and the HDT logo has now become JRT - for Jesus Racing Team. In respect of the late great Peter Brock the car will carry the number #5 on the doors. The usually Blue Oval driver admits that it will feel a bit unusual to be piloting a Holden product!
"I am looking forward to joining the Touring Car Masters in Sydney for so many reasons", says the Sydney based driver who finished fourth outright in last year's V8 Ute Series,
"Obviously to drive a car which has so much history based around it is going to be a lot of fun. It doesn't have the same technology as the original LH Torana because the current touring cars are basically built like a V8 Supercar - but from the outside the car will look absolutely authentic.
"Knowing that this L34 Torana honours one of the most successful touring car teams means a lot and that is why I have taken so much care to ensure that our livery respects this to the highest degree. I have driven a number of touring cars over the years but this will be a real highlight in my racing career."
"I am very much looking forward to racing against legend drivers such as Jim Richards and John Bowe. These guys simply dominate any category they are involved in and I have the utmost respect for them. I have raced against Jim's son Steven at the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama but this will be my first time lining up against Jim. I'm 46 this year so I guess it qualifies me to be a 'Master'."
"Sydney Motorsport Park is a challenging circuit where overtaking is quite difficult until you come on to the main straight so I know I will be giving it ten-tenths all the way. Tony has the car up for sale so he’ll want me to do well and impress potential buyers", adds ‘Fishtail’ with a smile.
Andrew Fisher says the other benefit of racing during the Muscle Car Masters weekend is that when he's not racing he is often speaking to hundreds of men at breakfasts, dinners, conferences and the like.
Whilst the V8 ute resonates with the high school age group that he speaks to (at least 30,000 high school students each year) anyone over the age of 30 still has a special place for the old bangers. Fisher will familiarise himself with the Torana at a test day at the same circuit on August 28.
"I know it won’t be as fast as a V8Supercar but I bet you I won't be able to wipe the smile off my face!"
Andrew's next event after the Muscle Car Masters is in the Jesus Racing V8 Ute at the Sandown 500 in Melbourne during September.
With top-three and top-four outright finishes in recent championships he is hoping to collect more points at this round to take him closer to the leaders of this year's series.
Only 263 of the ‘L34 option’ Torana’s were built and they won the Bathurst 1000 in 1975 driven by Peter Brock and Brian Sampson, and Bob Morris/John Fitzpatrick in 1976. At the time Brock was not a part of MHDT which had Colin Bond and John Harvey driving its tricolour Toranas.
The Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and the 2013 Australian Muscle Car Masters, with official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing, and official technology partners Sandman Technical.