What are the key indicators that your relationship with your co-driver has turned into a bromance? When you start finishing each other’s sentences and book a tropical getaway for two – that’s what.
And who else would we expect to fill this mould than J-Dub and his good mate Paul Dumbrell/PD/the CEO/Danger. Take your pick of nicknames because at the Red Bull Racing Australia HQ the guy is more popular than the real CEO. But don’t tell either of them we said that…
Yep, Danger and J-Dub have booked a week away in far north Queensland this week for two. Well, three if you count the personal trainer accompanying them.
As the duo prepares to defend their 2012 Bathurst 1000 title from a myriad of challengers in 2013, they’ve opted to take their preparations to the next level.
“Yeah, we’re off up north for a training camp – it’s the first time we’re doing it,” Danger says.
“We wanted to do it last year but our calendars didn’t align, with business stuff, testing and what not. And while Jamie’s done a little pre-endurance camp for a couple of years this year we wanted to do something together and it’s as much about fitness as it is getting our heads aligned around what we’re going to do and how we’re going to approach the endurance season come September and October.”
While the two have known each other since their formative years growing up in Melbourne and have an intimate knowledge of each other’s lives, Danger says there’s no substitute for preparation. And with challengers new and old emerging ahead of the all-important Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast races, there’s no better time than now to take their combination to the next level. J-Dub’s championship campaign relies on it.
“It’s very important to have that close relationship with your co-driver I think,” Danger continues.
“At the end of the day the co-driver does the smaller portion of the day but realistically you take the main driver’s season into your own hands. So the more feedback and information they can give and the more that can be shared about how we’d prefer the car to handle and feel, the better we’re going to go. It’s key.
“You’re only as good as your weakest link and the weakest links are all the co-drivers because we’re only in the car for a limited time.
“So if we can raise the bar to increase my performance just a little, to make us a little bit better, then it’s all worth it.”
But is a tropical getaway really necessary? Like, really?
“There will be a few candle-lit dinners no doubt,” Danger says with a chuckle.
“But knowing our cooking abilities, there will be two-minute noodles on the menu every night.
“In all seriousness though, we’ll have a trainer with us and the week will be about exercise, eating healthily and talking a lot about the job at hand.
“We will watch last year’s race to get our heads back into it and talk about things that worked and things that didn’t.
“Being now 18 months out of full-time driving I feel it’s really important to build that familiarity with your co-driver. On test days now I’m doing 20 laps instead of the 100 I would do as a full-time driver – when Jamie wants to have lunch basically.
“It’s a big dynamic change but the reason for being part of Red Bull Racing Australia is that they understand the importance of co-drivers and that the more comfortable you are the more beneficial it is going to be for the team. That’s what they did last year with Luffy and me. We spend a lot of time with the team and Jamie and Craig have given us more laps than you probably would have expected to get us up to speed. And that proved to be successful last year.”
And here’s hoping the lads are just as successful as last year. Stay tuned to see what Luffy and Lowndesy have to say about that…