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GRABBING THE ILLUSIVE BULL BY THE HORNS

The suspension on a V8 supercar is something incredibly important to its overall performance. When you hear a driver say “We’re lacking pace” it rarely relates to horsepower. More often than not, the pace will come from the balance of the car, which is generally from suspension set-up (combined with a number of other chassis related points). So when the pace isn’t there, it can mean a lot of work for the team’s suspension technician. In the case of Red Bull Racing Australia, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of Adam “Bull” Devereux.

at the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400, Event 06 of the 2015 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Townsville Street Circuit, Townsville, July 12, 2015.
Bull (on the left) talking shop with Ty Freele.

For Bull, it doesn’t just stop with working on the dampers… Like many others in the team, he’s a multi-tasker and works across a number of different roles at a race weekend. To get a better idea of what Bull does day-to-day and what the role means, we hit him with some questions post Queensland Raceway, which coincidently happened to be one of his busiest rounds of the year.

Can you explain what your role is both at the track and away from it?

At the workshop, we look after all the dampers (shock absorbers) for our cars as well as customers. We service dampers from a wide range of race cars, not just V8 Supercars. There is a dyno setup in the room, to check and test all dampers we look at, including check every one of our dampers between races. Part of this includes setting up all springs to engineer’s specification for every race meeting. As well as dampers, I look after the clutches and the rattle guns, used in pit stops.

What makes the difference between a really busy weekend for you and a quiet weekend?

Obviously when we have pace from the start of the weekend, there aren’t as many changes happening. However, even when we are quick from Practice 1, there are still a lot of changes being made as we are always trying to go quicker, or looking for a better set-up for the cars.

Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Racing Australia during the Coats Hire Ipswich 400, Event 7 of the 2015 Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series at the Queensland Raceway, Ipswich, Queensland, August 02, 2015.
Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Racing Australia during the Coats Hire Ipswich 400, Event 7 of the 2015 Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series at the Queensland Raceway, Ipswich, Queensland, August 02, 2015.

What’s the most amount of shock changes you’ve made at one race meeting?

38 sets (2 damper changes per set) in total.

Is it just the Red Bull Racing Australia Team that you do suspension work for?

No, not at all. Customer work is a very big part of my job, extending to many of the different race categories in Australia, like Dunlop Series and Carrera Cup to name a couple.

Has there ever been a race weekend when the car was so good it didn’t require any shock changes?

One, in seven years. Yep, that few!

How long does it take you to go from one shock setting, through the rebuild process and into the new set-up?

At the track, its takes 10-15 minutes to change a spring set-up on a set of dampers

Do you set-up a range of shocks pre-event based on previous years data or does it still change from year to year based on current car set-ups?

All spring setups on the dampers come from the two race engineers. They give a range of spring set-ups pre-event, which are set-up in-house, then we’ll change on-site as needed.