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Ludo Lacroix: What 2013 taught us…

This is a public announcement on behalf of Red Bull Racing Australia’s favourite Frenchman, Ludo Lacroix.

And if you’re worrying about how to pronounce his surname correctly, don’t. Everything after the “c” is silent… We think.

Anywho, when he’s not busy talkin’ sexy with that all but indecipherable French lingo, Ludo is hard at work making the Red Bull VF Commodores the quickest cars on track.

He’s the category’s top technical director and arguably one of the best in the world of motorsport. And after successfully helping the all-new VF Commodore become the pace-setter for Red Bull in 2013, he’s at it again to ensure Lowndesy and J-Dub stay a step ahead of their competitors.

But he’s quick to illustrate that unlike 2013, when he introduced the controversial “Ford-style” rear wing to the VF, that 2014’s updates will be more concealed than aesthetic. That is to say that most of the changes – other than an updated livery – we won’t be able to see.

“The big word this year is ‘refinement’,” Ludo says.

“Last year we had the new cars, the new chassis, the new aerodynamic kits, tyres and all that. We went into the season with no data and had to learn and make changes on the go.

“This year, we are much wiser and we’re not in a rush to get the cars on track. It’s a matter of taking what we’ve learned and refining things.”

And one of many changes that will be undetectable to the human eye – and the animal eye for that matter – will be a 5kg decrease in weight. The Red Bull Commodores have been on a strict no-carbs eating plan over the summer.

“And that’s the sort of thing that won’t make a big deal of difference to the naked eye – it’s not going to make you half a second quicker, but it will maybe give you a tenth of a second,” Ludo continues.

“We have a better understanding of the tyres and how the car acts and reacts to certain set-ups, so now it’s a matter of fine-tuning things. Of course, there will be new components and but overall it will be lots of little improvements that make a difference. There are a lot of things we can do better this year and it’s helped very much that we haven’t had to spend the entire summer designing and building a car but improving them a year on with what we now know.”

As a result, Ludo predicts the 2014 season won’t feature as many different race winners as in 2013, suggesting the championship will be fought out between just three teams.

“Last year, everyone was new to their cars and there was lots to be learned,” Ludo says.

“But this year there won’t be as many mistakes by the more successful and therefore less opportunities. And I think the most successful teams off the back of where they finished last year and their understandings of the car will be Brad Jones Racing, FPR and us. I think between those nine cars they will make up 90 per cent of the race wins this year.

“And obviously Red Bull is in a very good position. I think the championship is in good hands.”

Indeed it is. Check back next week when Ludo gives us the lowdown on why promoting Dutto and JJ to team manager and chief designer respectively will make Triple Eight even more competitive than ever.

We’d have brought it to you today but our translator knocked off early… as did Ludo.