We’re only two rounds away from the start of the Enduro Cup and more importantly, just three rounds from the race that beats all races, the Bathurst 1000.
Yep, it’s that time of the year when the fates of J-Dub and Lowndesy’s seasons are placed in the hands of co-drivers. And as Lowndesy looks to reclaim his title as King of the Mountain from J-Dub, we thought we’d better catch up with the men charged with helping the lads reign supreme – the kings’ hands if you will…
They had their first real taste of the new Red Bull Racing Australia VF Commodores on the streets of Townsville last week and were among the pace setters. Re-introducing, Warren “Chops” Luff and Paul “Danger” Dumbrell. Reckon we can get those nicknames to stick?
Red Bull: Boys, great to have you back on board. We’ve missed you. Danger, it must have been nice to blow out the cobwebs. When was the last time you even drove a car?
PD: Haha. Bathurst last year! So I’m a last-start winner. It’s been good to get back in the car for the first time since Bathurst though. A lot’s changed in the team since I last jumped in the car last October. There’s the Car of the Future of course and then Red Bull. To don the Red Bull suit for the first time is pretty special and it feels great to be part of the team. It’s very exciting.
RB: What did you make of the car? It’s a far cry from the VE you helped steer to victory last year…
PD: It sure is. But I really enjoyed the car. It was pleasant to drive and the guys have obviously worked really hard to get the car to where it is. They’ve made so much progress and it’s a credit to the drivers and the team. The car drove well. There were a few subtle differences with the tail end and the gearbox but even after those two drives I feel good in the car. I brought the car back straight and hopefully given Dutto and Jamie something to work with.
RB: The car might be straight but you don’t seem to be walking straight… Is there something we should know about, Danger?
PD: Haha. Nah, I’ve had hip surgery about a month ago and now I’m in rehab and ready to go for the Enduro Cup. I treat surgery like a loyalty programme. Get nine surgeries and the next one is free, so I’m not far away.
RB: And you’re not missing the full-time drive? Should the boys be watching their backs…
PD: No, not from me! Haha. Last year before Bathurst I was quite busy with work and didn’t miss the fulltime drive but this year, I’ve watched every race and couldn’t wait to get back in the car. And to be in the best team with the two of the best drivers in the series and with Red Bull on board, it was a pretty easy decision to come back as a co-driver.
RB: Can you go back-to-back with J-Dub at Bathurst?
PD: Well, I didn’t come back to come second. I don’t think Jamie walks out of the truck and into his car to do anything less than win. That’s what we’re here for and that’s our role.
RB: Sounds brilliant but we’ll see what Luffy has to say about that. Chops? You there?
WL: Pfft… Lowndesy and I have got them covered. Haha. It was nice to finish third and have both cars on the podium at Bathurst last year but obviously Craig and I would like to reverse that order and have our car on top of the podium this year. And we’re not fussy – Jamie and Danger can have second or third, whatever they want. Haha.
RB: Chops, you tested the car earlier this year before racing commenced. What have you made of the changes?
WL: Well, firstly, it’s great to be back for 2013 and part of the enduro campaign. I did drive the car earlier this year and it’s come a long way just in that short time. It’s fantastic and hopefully we can continue on from where we left last year. It’s a little bit nicer everywhere.
RB: You were among the top-two in Townsville’s practice and obviously have form behind the wheel in the Carrera Cup. Are you better placed than last year to get the No.888 Commodore across the line first?
WL: Yeah, I feel great and I’m really happy with my driving. I’m really comfortable in the car and it’s great to be back. And I’m going to Sandown and Bathurst to give it a red-hot go this year. I can’t wait.