Two new chassis, one old friend

  • 22/01/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Brad Jones Racing is working hard to ensure two new chassis on the grid this year – and has an old friend waiting in the wings if required.

The team is planning new cars for Tim Slade and Jason Bright for season start, with Tim Blanchard set to take over the chassis debuted at Darwin last year and dubbed ‘Alice’ by Fabian Coulthard.

With the cars raced last year intended to run in the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series, BJR has an unexpected spare on hand if required – Bright’s ‘crash car’ from the 2014 Clipsal 500.

Jason Bright of Brad Jones Racing during the Clipsal 500, Event 01 of the 2014 Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series at the Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide, South Australia, March 02, 2014.

Team BOC driver Bright rolled spectacularly at the street event after a Safety Car restart in the Sunday race, and with the Australian Grand Prix staged in under a fortnight, the team scrambled to build a new car for the veteran racer.

Ultimately that affected the team’s schedule for the year, with upgrades to Coulthard’s sister car delayed – but now, that car may come to the rescue if required.

“We’ve repaired 001, which is Brighty’s Adelaide accident car – we’re going to paint that and that will be, to start the year, our spare chassis,” team boss Brad Jones told v8supercars.com.au.

“But once we get Adelaide out of the way, we have actually got three cars in the DVS we can use. So we won’t have a complete car as a spare but we’ll have a body shell and we have three Dunlop Series cars we can call on if need be.”

The rebuild follows an incredible repair job by the Holden Racing Team, which managed to fix the crashed car from Bathurst 2014, which Garth Tander believed would never race again.

The BJR crew is working hard to prepare the new cars for the upcoming Winton test day, which unofficially kicks off the season for the V8 Supercars teams. Under new rules this year, one of three test days must be utilised before the Clipsal 500 or it is relinquished. 

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“It has been pretty busy,” Jones said of the return to work for the team.

“It’s coming along really well, the guys get to have a reasonable break … like all teams at the moment we’re flat out getting our cars all prepped and painted and madly rushing towards the 22nd of February.”

Along with two of three new cars for the V8 Supercars team, there are two of three new drivers with Slade and Blanchard coming on-board for 2016 and replacing Fabian Coulthard and Dale Wood.

Team BOC stalwart Bright has already said he believes BJR will be in a stronger position this time around, given more continuity with the engineering group.

Last year at the opening round, BJR achieved its first ever win on a street circuit in Saturday’s race with Coulthard behind the wheel.

It is a fond memory for Jones and he believes the team will be in a position to defend that victory this year, despite its new line-up.

“Anytime you win a race it’s pretty exciting and uplifting,” Jones said.

“So we’ll go into Clipsal with a lot of changes, but we’re certainly going there with the intention to perform and fight again for a win and defend our race win.

“Honestly, I’m pretty excited. Both the Tims have fitted in really well – Tim Slade’s already been down to the shop and had a look around, he’s coming back down this week.

“We won’t know until we get to Clipsal – but so far so good.”

Brad Jones Racing finished fourth in the teams’ championship last year, with Coulthard seventh and Bright 16th.

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