The Bathurst 1000 is the ultimate for V8 drivers, but it’s also the pinnacle of motorsport in Australia for mechanics like Ethan Byrne.
The Goolgowi native is the No.2 mechanic on the Pepsi Max Crew of 2014 winner Chaz Mostert and is hoping for a third consecutive title at Mount Panorama on Sunday after also working for 2013 champion Mark Winterbottom.
Byrne said the Bathurst 1000 was his favourite race on the V8 calendar.
“It’s definitely the ultimate,” the 25-year-old said.
“Bathurst is what everyone does this job for.
“You grow up watching it on TV.
“The pit crew feels exactly the same as the drivers about it.
“We can’t all be drivers, but this is the next best thing for us.”
But mechanics like Byrne have no time to savour the experience.
Their focus is trained on doing everything possible to ensure their team’s car is first to the chequered flag.
While the race takes an enormous mental and physical toll on drivers, Byrne said pit crews were also put through the wringer.
“It’s also an enduro event for us,” he said.
“We got here on Tuesday this week and we’ve got more practice sessions than any other round.
“You’re suited up all Sunday in your fireproofs, sweating it out, and you do a lot of pit stops.
“It takes it out of you and it’s hard work for everyone.”
But for Byrne, the extra effort makes winning sweeter.
The former Griffith High student feels blessed to have enjoyed so much success at Mount Panorama early in his career.
“It’s pretty rare to get one (Bathurst win),” Byrne said.
“There are plenty of blokes who have been working for 10 years or more and haven’t won one, and I’ve been lucky to win two of the last five.
“I remember at my first Bathurst win, a few of the older boys were tearing up and crying.
“You could see how much it meant to them.”
Mostert and co-driver Cameron Waters are expected to feature on the podium in this year's race, but Byrne said the nature of the Bathurst 1000 meant anything could happen during the event’s 161 laps.
“You’ve always got to make sure you’re on your toes,” he said.
“It’s that type of race. You hope it all goes smoothly, but it rarely does.”
While happy to remain in the V8 arena for now, Byrne would like to take his talents to the US in the future to work on the NASCAR circuit.
“I just think it would be a lot of fun,” he said.
“Drivers get in fist fights and so do the pit crews sometimes. It’d be something different.”
See Saturday’s The Weekend Advertiser for a four-page special preview on this year’s Bathurst 1000.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.