He took a step to the right on the ‘prat perch’ up the front of the garage at the Townsville 400 last weekend and resumed race-engineer duty alongside Jamie Whincup, the man who has successfully engineered to five of his six V8 Supercars championship wins, and while they may not have enjoyed the success of previous outings in the North Queensland sun, plenty of lessons were learned and progress made.
So in no particular order, here are the five things Red Bull Racing Australia learned at the Townsville 400…
1. Put JDub in front of a camera, on a rocky descent, with a mountain bike at his disposal and he’s unlikely to hold back.
We knew that already but re-confirmed it at Townsville’s Douglas Mountain Bike Park. Luckily his skill’s adaptable to most things that move and luckily he was in the capable hands of Red Bull and our Commercial Team! Watch the video here…
2. Don’t be too conservative, go hard and back yourself. We went conservative with our strategy on Saturday, pitting early and gave up some positions, even a possible podium for JDub. You need to take some risks in this game but calculated ones at that, we didn’t back ourselves enough on Saturday.
3. Craig is now ambidextrous with the release of a limited edition left-handed signature, and by the end of the Townsville weekend they were looking a lot more like the real thing. This adaptability helped Craig and the team to both fulfil a busy schedule of team partner and fan engagements, but more importantly starting each day with a minor injury giving him little if no hindrance driving a V8 Supercar.
4. We re-learnt that work gets harder before it gets easier. It’s the only way to find a new direction.
It’s far from ideal for drivers or engineers to deal with so many changes on the car at once. They’re harder to understand and lead to an inevitable drawn out de-brief to confirm the good, the bad and the indifferent.
We also proved we’re deep enough as a group to change roles and move forward without relearning the job.
5. RD still has an intense passion to be up the front, and on the cans. But he’s mellowed from the old RD and his tolerance levels have gone up! A little… Maybe as a group we’re working better together, but we tested the boss’s limits at times and rather than stepping in to crack the whip, RD remained a lot calmer and more collected than we expected.
He could see we’re already hard on ourselves when it’s not going right and for the entire group it’s great to see our fearless leader can still step in and display the same passion we’ve all learnt from.
The Red Bull Racing Australia VF Holden Commodores return to the track on homeground from 31 July 2015 at the Coates Hire Ipswich Supersprint. Tickets at v8supercars.com.au.