Dutto: “We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again”

“Getting to the bottom of the lack of pace in Townsville” is a sentence we never thought we’d hear come out of Dutto’s mouth. But after an uncharacteristic set of results for Red Bull Racing Australia that wouldn’t be tolerated at any circuit – let alone one where the team has claimed five race wins since 2009 – getting the cars back on pace is priority No.1 for the all-important test day.

Joined by the Endurance Cup co-drivers Paul “Danger” Dumbrell and Warren “Chops” Luff (nicknames sticking yet?!), the Red Bull Commodores took to Queensland Raceway on Tuesday for the team’s first test since March.

While almost every other major team has enjoyed testing throughout the season, Tuesday marked Red Bull’s first major test session of the year – and not a moment too soon. For once, a story on isn’t a laughing matter.

“Getting to the bottom of the lack of pace in Townsville is obviously a big thing on the test list here, understanding what happened there and making sure it doesn’t happen again,” says Dutto, the Car No.1 engineer.

The plan is echoed across the board, Lowndes’ Car No.888 crew working on tyre life and that ever crucial hard compound set-up – the factors that the team pinpointed as their main weaknesses during the Townsville race debrief back at HQ.

And man, was that a long debrief! Let’s hope results like those don’t crop up again, for the sake of this hack’s sanity more than anything.

“We struggled a bit in Townsville with running the tyres up, so we’re really just going back to the basics, fixing cambers and pressures and that sort of stuff  – just trying to make the car last a lot longer over a long distance,” Car No.888 engineer JJ says.

“We’re pretty OK on a qualifying lap, so we just need to work a bit harder on the hard tyre and set-up for a long duration really.”

With the Ipswich 360 just around the corner, the team is looking to maximise their runs on the circuit. But with the differing conditions between a test day and a race meeting, getting the right set-up for Queensland Raceway now won’t necessarily mean the same magic will be reproduced at the event in a little over a week’s time.

“It’s always quite different when all the other cars are here and all the new tyres are put on and the track grips up, so quite often it’s different at a test day,” JJ explains.

“But it’s still the same corners, still the same bumps.”  So much for a home advantage…

Keep this on the down low but rumours of new componentry for the Red Bull Holdens aren’t too wide of the mark.

“We have got some new parts on the car, which we’re evaluating, putting miles on for our race here,” ATB admits.

“Yes, there is new stuff in the car, but we’re also going over old ground and reconfirming. We haven’t tested since March, so a lot’s changed with the cars in the last three months. We’re just validating some of those changes.”

Stay tuned for further updates.