Jason Bright expects to continue as a full-time Supercars driver at Prodrive next season after receiving a confidence boost from a recent upturn in pace.
The veteran is the oldest driver on the Supercars grid but his desire for success in the category is showing no signs of diminishing.
Bright returned to Prodrive this year in a move that saw him bring his own REC from Brad Jones Racing, to take up the fourth Falcon FGX at the stable.
The 44-year-old, who ran with the team in 2005/06, agreed a multi-year deal with the operation, although there has been speculation surrounding his future as a full-time driver next year.
Prodrive’s Dunlop Super2 recruit Garry Jacobson, Bright’s co-driver, is eager for a chance to step up, while Kiwi enduro driver Richie Stanaway has been linked to a future drive with the team.
Bright currently sits 21st in the standings, behind team-mates Chaz Mostert, Mark Winterbottom and Cameron Waters, having scored two top 10 results across the first eight rounds as he adjusts to the Falcon package.
He openly admits a lack of consistency has been disappointing but has been buoyed by improved performances shown at Townsville and Queensland Raceway.
Unconcerned by the silly season talk, Bright says his desire to compete remains unchanged and he fully intends for the current situation at Prodrive to remain in place next year.
“I’m not distracted by it (the silly season talk),” Bright told Speedcafe.com.
“I feel more comfortable this year and I have a bit more control of my own destiny, because I have a contract for next year.
“My agreement places me and my REC there (at Prodrive).
“I’m pretty confident both things are secure at the moment and I don’t intend on moving it anywhere.
“I’m really happy with how the relationship is working and how easy it has been to put the whole relationship in place.
“I’m pretty sure they (Prodrive) are happy with the progress that has been made over the last couple of rounds, so I don’t see any reason why it should change.
“I certainly still enjoy racing and as long as I’m competitive and finishing around where my team-mates are, then I’m pretty keen to stay here and continue to enjoy myself.
“At the end of the day if I’m not dabbling with these guys consistently, and I would expect to by mid-year which is where we are now, then I would be feeling like I don’t want to be out there battling around where I don’t think I deserve to be.
“The last couple rounds have proven to me that I’m much closer to the guys in the team that have been driving these cars for the last three years, so I can only assume that I am going to get closer to them over the next few rounds.”
Bright has qualified inside the top 10 twice in the last three races and was in contention for back-to-back top 10 finishes at Ipswich.
Having reached a turning point at Queensland Raceway in terms of car set-up, he hopes the trend will continue as the season progresses.
“I’m happy with the progress we are making and I think over the rest of this year we are only going to improve,” he said.
“Ipswich was probably the biggest step forward that I have had all year.
“There are a couple of little areas that we need to improve and we can be in the top 10 consistently.”
While he remains focussed on continuing his full-time Supercars career, he admits there could come a point in the near future where he will step back and promote a young driver into his REC’s hot seat.
“It will depend on how it all works. I enjoy all the different aspects of the sport,” he added.
“If I’m standing in the garage as a REC owner and barracking for a driver and a sponsor on the car, and we are getting results, then I would certainly get enjoyment out of that as well.
“At the end of the day I still feel like I have got a bit of winning to do myself. If everything goes right hopefully I will be barracking for myself.”
Switching his focus back to the current campaign, Bright heads into next weekend’s Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint determined to carry on his upturn in pace seen at Townsville and Queensland Raceway.
“I feel like it should be a track that works well with the way our cars are working at the moment,” he explained.
“I’m looking forward to it because I feel like we are more on top of the set-up when we arrive at the circuit with the car than we have been previously.”