Triple Eight Race Engineering boss Roland Dane says that his team still doesn't totally understand all of the mechanical quirks of the Holden Commodore.
After seven years competing with Ford Falcons in the V8 Supercars Championship Series, Dane's Triple Eight squad switched to Commodores this year with immediate success – team leader Jamie Whincup won the opening four races of the championship.
Since then, Whincup has won two of the past six races, and with an engine failure in the last race at Queensland Raceway, he now only holds a slender 24 point championship lead over QR dominator James Courtney.
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Dane told Speedcafe.com.au that Whincup should not question the job he is doing – his team need to continue to understand the Commodores better.
“Jamie is fine. The reason it is close isn't his fault. He knows he is doing a good job,” Dane said.
“From our point of view, it's just part of getting to know the parts we are using now with the new make of car. We've had a couple of parts issues with the Holden engine that we're not used to.
“But we're not the only people with engine issues. Look next door to us (Toll HRT), Will Davison has had a couple of problems this year. When you're pushing the envelope, that's what happens.”
Dane announced this week that the TeamVodafone will debut two new Commodore VE chassis in the coming months. Whincup is set to get a new car in Darwin next month, while team-mate Craig Lowndes is likely to have his car for Phillip Island (in September). CLICK HERE for full news story.
While the fight at the top is close, Triple Eight can hold its head high. Six of the cars in the top 13 of the championship were designed and/or built by the champion Brisbane-based team – including Courtney's Jim Beam Racing Falcon – the car that looks most likely to upset Whincup's winning title run.
“I was pleased to see James win at Queensland Raceway. Obviously I would have been more pleased if we'd won, but I was certainly pleased for those guys to get a result like that,” Dane said.
“Also, Stevie J (Johnson) was in the top six all weekend. Dean Fiore had his first start in the top 10 shootout. We had Russell (Ingall) come in fourth on Sunday. It was good to see all of those people in cars that we've had something to do with getting results.”
V8 Supercars racing resumes this weekend at Winton Motor Raceway.
Check out the V8 Supercars Video News Release below, focusing on the battle between Whincup and Courtney at the top of the title.