ARE there more wins in store for Albury-based Brad Jones Racing this season?
Many think not.
But Lockwood Racing’s Fabian Coulthard begs to differ.
Sitting fifth in V8 Supercars, Coulthard has three wins under his belt so far, and teammate Jason Bright two in the BOC Commodore.
Their last win was Coulthard’s at the Austin 400 in Texas in May, but this weekend they are on home turf at Winton where Bright has a top record, winning in 2002 and scoring BJR’s second V8 Supercars win in 2011.
BJR has been a big improver after the shift to Car of the Future. Its dedicated team at its Hope Court workshop matches any other outfit for its engineering prowess.
And BJR’s three drivers — Bright, Coulthard and David Wall — will this weekend be keen to show their home crowd what they can do.
“There is no reason we can’t get back on the top step of the podium,” Coulthard said.
“I have confidence in the team and the car that we can get better.
“Everyone is excited about the rest of the year.
“We’re not sitting on our hands. We can see where the rest of the speed is going to come from.
“Brighty has been a bit of a stand-out at Winton and having a fast teammate, hopefully we can learn off each other.
“We have pretty much qualified inside the top five this year so I expect to do the same.
“You cannot have good tracks and bad tracks, you have to be consistent on all of them.”
The team’s last three test days have been rained out, including last week’s all-important test at Winton, but that has not deterred team engineer Andrew Edwards.
“Our list of test items is getting longer each week, but I still feel confident our package can challenge for wins this weekend,” Edwards said.
“Winton is fairly tight and twisty and the corners are quite long. It’s quite easy on the brakes. The surface has a medium level of grip, which can become quite high as rubber goes down. It’s also difficult to overtake at Winton.
“Our car’s ability to turn and brake should hold us in good stead.
“The thing we need to be mindful of will be understanding what is needed for a qualifying car verses a race car.
“The car needs to rotate quite hard in qualifying, but the race will require something that is more balanced to look after the tyres.”
Support categories include Dunlop Series, Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula Ford and Aussie Racing Cars, with one of the largest grids for the Dunlop Series — 34 cars — in round 5 of the second-tier championship.
Aaron Tebb returns to the field after an accident in Townsville left the Rsport Race Engineering Commodore off the grid at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360 and there are two additions to the grid, No. 32 (Josh Kean) and No. 41 (Luke Youlden), entered by Brad Jones Racing.
Youlden, will partner Fabian Coulthard in his Lockwood Racing Commodore for the PIRTEK Enduro Cup and Kean, will race Holden Commodore VE IIs.
For Dunlop drivers in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, there will be the chance to run in their main series ride during today’s practice, with the first 30 minutes of practice limited to co-drivers.
Those not in the enduros will still have the chance to race at Bathurst because it is the sixth, penultimate round of the Dunlop Series.
Dale Wood leads Ashley Walsh by 128 points in the Dunlop Series, Daniel Gaunt is third and Albury’s Andrew Jones and George Miedecke round out the top five.
Kiwi driver Ant Pedersen will step into the No. 38 Marque Management/Eggleston Motorsport Triple Eight Built Holden, competing beside Jack Perkins.
Daniel Gaunt who has driven the car all season has moved to Evans Motorsport Group.
Pedersen, who hasn’t raced in the Dunlop Series since 2010, is contesting the V8 SuperTourers in New Zealand, sitting second in the championship behind Greg Murphy.
Former world motorcycle champion Casey Stoner will be behind the wheel at the Winton 360. He had his best result — a fifth at his last start.