First up is our win at Sandown at the weekend. We did have some minor issues, but nothing that troubled us too much and we've now sorted them out, so that's a big lift in confidence.
The other confidence booster is the performance of our team's co-drivers. That's the part of the equation that is out of your hands in the enduros, but I think most of the co-drivers in the field showed that the standard has lifted.
In fact, they were a lot more level-headed and mature in their qualifying sprint race than the main drivers were in theirs. Perhaps Mark Webber is right about drivers being too aggressive because of the false sense of security from the high safety standards of today's race cars and circuits.
My co-driver, Warren Luff, didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, even in a wet practice session. He drove to the pace of the car and made no mistakes. The biggest thing for me is his laidback attitude which is just like mine. He's simply the easiest enduro driver I've had to deal with and that includes people like Mark Skaife.
He's also a closer match to me than Skaifey in pace and in size which means we haven't had to change the seat, pedal or steering wheels so our driver changes are particularly slick and smooth. It's a big confidence builder knowing your co-driver and team are up to it.
Bathurst is all about confidence and I'm approaching this event with more confidence than I've had in a long time. In my first year on the mountain in 1994 as a rookie I attracted a fair bit of attention when I passed John Bowe around the outside at Griffins Bend. I then led the race for several laps before he passed me back again when I was balked by a back marker turning in front of me at Murray's Corner.
People say that pass was a mistake and that I missed my braking marker, but it's my belief that Bowey broke too early. The corner is cambered quite well so you can pass on the outside there although you have to be careful as it gets slippery late in the race from all the rubber on the road. I've also passed around the outside at the kink before the Chase.
However, you have to swallow a few bravery pills and have commitment to stay alongside someone there. It can be heart-in-the-mouth stuff as we are reaching maximum speeds approaching 300km/h flat out in sixth gear. You really have to have your wits about you because it can go completely wrong.