Local Supercars Driver Gears Up for a New Challenge

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Andrew Jones makes his debut as a pit lane reporter for the Supercars on-track screens at the Sandown 500.

With footy finals over, the sporting focus turns to this weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Border Cafe caught up with Brad Jones Racing’s Andrew Jones, who won’t be competing in the Great Race as a co-driver this year, but he’ll remain close to the action in his new role as a pit lane reporter.

Border residents attending this year’s Sandown 500 in September may have noticed a local face popping up on the Supercars on-track big screens as Brad Jones Racing Dunlop Super2 driver, Andrew Jones, made his pit lane reporting debut.

Since his first support category commentating role with Fox Sports at the Pukekohe Supercars round in 2016 he has built up quite the resume. Stepping into the commentary box for every Supercars round since the end of last year, Jones has called everything from Australian GT, to V8 Utes and Aussie Racing Cars around his Dunlop Super2 driving duties.

Being asked to fill in at the last minute in the commentators’ box at Pukekohe last year came as a bit of a surprise for Jones, and it wasn’t something he was looking to pursue, but it has been an enjoyable experience so far.

After chatting with Supercars Media about his interest in further opportunities in this area, conflicting schedules with the Singapore GP and Sandown 500 left an opening for Jones to tackle his next challenge – pit lane reporting.

Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade (left) and pit lane reporter Riana Crehan (right) watch on as Andrew reports from the Supercars grid at the Sandown 500.

“It wasn’t planned, and it wasn’t on my radar as something I would ever do post car racing, but I’m enjoying it and getting a lot out of it and hopefully contributing to the coverage, both with Fox Sports and the on-track stuff in a positive way,” Jones said.

Jones credits his long history as a driver with Supercars and the Dunlop Super2 series with helping him feel comfortable jumping into this new role but still finds it to be a challenge.

“Everything I’m talking about is stuff that I’m very comfortable with,” he said.

“I’m able to pick up on things because this is something I’ve done for a very long time.”

One of the biggest differences he’s had to get used to is the degree of feedback that he receives as a reporter compared to a driver. Drivers receive almost immediate feedback on their on-track performance regarding what areas need improvement and what they are doing well.

“It’s the game I know, and I could talk about it all day long”

In contrast, with commentary and reporting, Jones says it can be difficult to know if what he is saying is being well-received by the fans in the grandstand or on television.

“I’m sort of at a point where I feel like if you keep getting asked back, you must be going ok,” Jones said.

While there are no current plans to swap his helmet for a microphone full-time, he is taking each opportunity as it comes and leaving his options open. He has also taken on a bit of mentoring role with Brad Jones Racing Dunlop Super2 driver Jack Smith, offering his years of experience to help the young driver become an all-round competitor.

Jones is locked in for Fox Sports supports commentary for the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, with the possibility of some more pit lane reporting for Sunday’s Great Race also on the cards.

“I’d like to (continue with commentary and pit lane reporting), I’d be silly to say that I wouldn’t. It’s the game I know, and I could talk about it all day long. So, from that end it feels good,” he said.

Live television coverage for the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 airs from Thursday, 5 October on Fox Sports channel 506. Free-to-air coverage can be found on TEN and TEN HD from Friday, 6 October. For the full schedule, visit http://www.supercars.com/tv-schedule/.