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Busman's holiday

I was delighted at the weekend to see that Valentino Rossi has made a comeback to MotoGP weeks after breaking his leg.

I might not be racing a car, but I'm racing around doing a lot of PR as are most of the drivers.  And the teams are also playing catch up on work, plus catch-up on a well-deserved break.

Our workshop has plenty of work to do building a brand new race car for Skaifey and me for Phillip Island in September and Bathurst in October.  The benefit of this break is that we can also rotate our staff through some holidays to catch up with some well-deserved rest because they worked right through Christmas last year to get our new Holdens built.  So we basically have a skeleton crew on all the time at our Banyo headquarters.

Mark is really excited about the new race car.  We both have to get comfortable in the car which is difficult for him and me because he has longer legs and a shorter torso than me.

So getting the seat, steering wheel and pedals in a comfortable position for both of us will end up as a bit of a compromise.  I will have to stretch a bit more to the pedals, but I'll be closer to wheel.

We drove together for HRT in 1999 and had a two-stage steering column we could push or pull about an inch, which is something our team is looking at.  Obviously you can't change the seat which is anchored down, so our legs will be a bit compromised for space, but we've got away with it in the past.

Speaking of car-building, it's good to see V8 Supercars has now started building two prototypes to iron out any problems before the teams start building their race cars.  It's definitely a good concept and will make racing cheaper.

However, with the chassis and components identical and only different Ford and Commodore shells, there is some skepticism among the fans about retaining that all-important Ford-Holden rivalry.  The teams will also have a challenge coming to terms with some of the technical issues such as the 100kg lighter weight and independent rear end.

I hear they are thinking of staying with the spool diff, but having a custom housing so we can swap in a Detroit Locker or Salisbury. Interesting to hear that we may get those options for varying circuits and conditions.

Our team, along with FPR, HRT and SBR have been testing various diffs to get the feel of where they work and where they don't, how they hook up and how they change the feel of the car.  Either has its pros and cons. It doesn't matter to me which one they go with.

We've given our feedback and now it's up to the category to make their decision.  The idea is to allow more passing, particularly for drivers to dive down the inside into a corner and still have enough turn to be able to avoid running into the side of the car they are passing.

All drivers are scared of that because you don't want to gain a place only to cop a points penalty through contact.  The other reason for the possible change of diff is to minimise the amount of damage our cars are doing to the tracks.

The initial cost of all the car of the future changes will be huge, but in the long term it will be cheaper on running costs.  It should also make it safer with bigger wheels and brakes, and lighter cars.

I was surprised and delighted at the weekend to see that Valentino Rossi has made a comeback to MotoGP just weeks after breaking his leg.  The sport really needs a charismatic rider like him and it was almost a fairytale comeback with a fourth place, denied of a podium by our very own Casey Stoner.

No doubt he would have had the best doctors, best prep and best recovery, but it still takes an enormous  amount of personal courage and talent to come back so quickly after the biggest accident of his career and then to perform so well.  What a star.

I'll also see a few F1 stars when my wife, Nat, and I fly to Europe for the Spanish GP in August.  However, I'm a little disappointed because I have to fly home before the Sunday race for a rookie day and test day the next week.  It would have been nice to see Mark Webber win another race, but at least we will be there for the practice and qualifying.

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