Rising star laps up the highs and lows of the elite sport

DAVID Reynolds is living the dream and today there is a gruelling 13 hours of it.

The former Scots School student will start with a meeting in the pits at the Winton Raceway at 7.15am and wind up about 8pm at a debriefing.

In between the rising star of the V8 Supercars series will sign autographs, go to several meetings with engineers, contest a qualifying session and complete a 47-lap race, one of two for the weekend.

As he walks from the pits to a his Bottle-O racing team’s trailer the fans call out his name.

He stops and signs autographs.

“You never get use to that,” the 27-year-old said.

“I just wanted to drive race cars since I was a kid.

“And now that is what I do; I know I’m lucky.”

His recent second placing at the sport’s pinnacle, the Bathurst 1000, may have some believing he was an overnight hit.

It couldn’t be further from the truth.

Reynolds started in go-karts at six.

Over the years he moved through the grades — a stint in open wheel racing, the Porsche series and then the under-card to the V8 Supercars.

In between he drove a $450,000 Porsche after winning the series and picked up empty glasses at a pub to make ends meet.

“My first Supercar race was at Adelaide on the street circuit,” he said.

“It was so hot in the suits that you are literally stuffed just sitting on the grid.

“They had changed to a new blend of fuel that ran hotter and the engineers hadn’t quite got it right.

“The heat from the exhaust behind the fire wall meant after five laps my left foot was numb — it is a tough sport, incredibly competitive.

“But I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Graham Sattler was overseeing the pit crew working on the Jason Bright driven BOC Commodore, one of three Brad Jones Racing team cars in the series.

“People love the glamour of the V8s — travelling to races, the hype but in reality this is bloody hard work,” he said.

“We are based in Albury, we have people who have moved to the Border to be part of the team.

“With the three cars it is a $7 million budget ... some teams have a $5 million budget for each car.

“When a car is damaged in an accident it is often an all-nighter to fix it — at the Gold Coast the boys got one hour’s sleep before they had to be back at the track.

“If you worked out the hours you work and the pay you get well, it is probably better to be working in a dealership and going home at 5pm.

“But you do this for the passion, the excitement — money can’t buy that.”

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