Mount Panorama Bathurst was the last place EFTM expected to catch up with Anthony Minichiello – the legendary Sydney Roosters NRL player who retired at the end of the 2014 season. Nowadays ‘Mini’ is working on various projects including Minifit which promotes health and fitness to improve growth and development of children. But as Greg Rust discovered he also has a real passion for cars just like us. The pair went to the legendary Mount Panorama circuit for the Australian launch of the new Lexus RC F…..a five litre V8 powered Grand Tourer that we’ll see a lot more of in 2015 as it takes to the track in a Safety Car role for the V8 Supercars Championship Series.
EFTM: Where did the love of riding & driving come from?
A: Oh it certainly come from my Dad. We grew up outside Liverpool in Western Sydney on 10 acres….so…..my Dad was a big Formula One fan back in the day and gave me my first motorbike at age 7 and started to teach me to drive when I was about 10……yeah it’s definitely a passion of mine….had the old paddock basher out on weekends with all my mates over…..so we had plenty of fun growing up and….yeah…..just fell in love with cars in the early years.
EFTM: First car and your current daily drive?
A: My first car was a Ford Laser TX3. We bought it and my Dad put the turbo engine in it……so….he was a motor mechanic as well. Umm he tweaked it up for me….it was good fun……Current drive is the Lexus NX. Beautiful car. Love the design of it. You sit up nice and high and we have the little one in the back now as well. It’s a great family car.
EFTM: When was the last time you were here at Mount Panorama in Bathurst?
A: It’s actually quite funny. Everyone’s been asking me today have you ever been around the track at Bathurst? And I have…..once. That was in 2001. I made my first representative team…..the City side……and our team bus drove around the circuit…..so that’s my only experience. I’m looking forward to getting up and down the Mountain today in something a bit quicker.
EFTM: This is such a rare opportunity to drive the circuit….at speed…..I would imagine there are plenty of friends and colleagues from the NRL who are a little envious of you today?
A: Oh for sure. Most of the boys love their cars as well so it’s good to go back and share the experience with them with a bit of banter but um yeah watching Bathurst growing up a lot of people say TV doesn’t do it justice when you head up and down the Mountain and see how steep it is…..so it’s certainly an experience and something I can tick off…..it’s pretty exciting.
EFTM: You don’t have to do all the intense pre-season NRL training now which makes it possible for you to attend events like this. If we rewound the clock 12 months it would be a different story wouldn’t it?
A: Correct. That’s one of the pleasures of being in retirement mate. You can get to do these sorts of things mid-week and on weekends….if I was playing another season I would actually be in camp now in pre-season sweating it out with the boys. That’s the perks of finishing up and sort of doing your own schedule now I suppose.
EFTM: Always hard to tell from the pre-season. Can South’s go back-to-back in your opinion and how’s the preparation going for your beloved Roosters?
A: Ahh look from the Roosters point of view they’ve had a really hard block of pre-season this year. They’ll be certainly fit. Ah they’ll be playing for 80 mins so um I’m really excited to watch them….I think they’ll be consistent this year. They’ll certainly be up there. For Souths they’ll certainly be up there without doubt. It very hard to win two comps in a row. It hasn’t been done for over 20 years. Um they have a strong forward pack and great backline with Greg Inglis out there. It’s going to be interesting to see how they go because every team gets up for the Premiers now and you certainly have to be consistent to get toward the end of the season….you want to be in that top four.
EFTM: So how was it…..driving hot-laps of this famous track?
A: (Massive smile) Mate it was amazing. I think I saw 252 km/h when I checked the speedo going down Conrod Straight at one point. Such an incredible experience. Big respect for the drivers who can tame this place.
Anthony was in Bathurst for the launch of RC F as part of his ambassadorial role with Lexus Australia.