Our defending champion, Mr. Jamie “J-Dub” Whincup recorded his first DNF in 136 race starts at the Adelaide 500, a sad moment for the team.
When you break a streak like that, it’s nearly as bad as losing your 400-day Snapchat streak… Just kidding, it’s worse.
As tough as it was to cop, it highlights the professionalism of the team to get J-Dub’s car across the finish line every single time for the last four years, dating back to Saturday’s Gold Coast race in 2013. And it wasn’t even Jamie behind the wheel then! Sorry, PD, don’t mean to throw you under the bus… or Murph’s rear end for that matter 😉
The downfall of this DNF began on Friday when J-Dub uncharacteristically ran into the wall at turn 8 during qualifying – a whack of 50g that knocked the car around.
After working through the night to get the car back on track for practice the next day, the car was (mostly) back to normal, but it was the suspension points that were compromised slightly.
Anything that’s a millimetre off can provide unwelcome challenges for the mechanics and engineers – something that race engineer David Cauchi had to work over the weekend.
“To be honest I was amazed at how good a job the boys and girls did at repairing the car at the track,” said Cauchi.
“When we set the car up on Saturday morning, after repairing the car until 4:30am, we only had to make a very small adjustment to get the setup back to where it was before the crash.
“We had a few mechanical issues during Saturday’s race which hampered our overall speed. We spent more time on Saturday night putting all those things right and on Sunday all was fine until the gearbox issue. That was disappointing as we were showing some solid speed.”
Back at the workshop, the crew have been busy re-working their magic on the car to ensure it’s back to absolute perfect condition, down to the millimetre, with the use of our jig – and no, it’s not a little dance we do in our sleep-deprived state.
In our workshop it’s purely a pretty nifty tool that allows us to accurately measure all the important points on the chassis and get them back to exactly where we want them to be. As much as we wish it were a little jive, it’s a meticulous process that can push back the team’s progress.
“Repairing a car at the circuit is difficult and you don’t have the tools and jigs available to locate everything millimetre perfect, like we want. Some of the damage simply could not be fixed in the time we had available to get back on track,” said Cauchi.
“We were very confident at the track that the safety cell had not been compromised but (the jig) does allow for a more thorough inspection.”
The extra week between Adelaide and the Melbourne 400 has certainly been welcomed by the crew and the car is looking ready to hit the track again.
“Now that it has been on the jig we know for certain everything is perfect, it is basically brand new again,” continued Cauchi.
“All that is behind us now and Bree (car #1) is back to new and we are good to go.”
Next, the car will go on the patch to fine tune it and straighten out any tiny imperfections – after being on the jig, we doubt there will be much of concern.
What you see in Melbourne next week will be an impeccable and ‘as new’ 2018 Holden Commodore. There’s nothing like a bit of perfection around here 🙂