Jamie Whincup’s Holden Commodore will return to the track for this morning’s final Supercars practice at the Adelaide 500 after overnight repairs that finished at 4am.
The brand-new Red Bull ZB was heavily damaged in a 52G Turn 8 qualifying crash on Friday afternoon, Whincup’s first big hit at the notorious corner.
Team manager Mark Dutton ranks the repair effort as the second biggest the team has undertaken behind its rescue of Craig Lowndes’ car at Pukekohe in 2015.
“We left the track about 4:15am,” he said.
“We managed to send a lot of people home around midnight to 1am, then there was just the crew and a few extras here until 4:15am.
“We just dropped it on the patch and it was amazingly good. The repairs were fantastic.
“You never expect it to be that good, even when you're just replacing bits for normal service without a shunt it's hard to be that close. Full credit to everyone there.
“We dropped it on and the toes were adjustable half-a-mill to a mill, so next to nothing. The corner weights were within half-a-turn to being bang on.
“Even when you just change a damper set, the corner weights need a bit of a tweak, so that's within a tolerance of the car being where it was before it hit the wall.
“It's a really good repair, which is why we were there until 4am. We took our time, as painful as it was, to make sure it was as perfect as we could get it.
“Apart from where it needs a bit of paint where it's been welded, if you stuck your head under there you wouldn't be able to tell where it's been repaired.”
Despite the crash bringing out a red flag and costing Whincup his best lap, that only dropped him from eighth to ninth and means he will still tackle the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout.
Estimating the cost of the parts replaced at over $100,000, Dutton said that the team changed many extra components as a precaution.
“We had the time to replace things that didn't need to be replaced,” he said.
“There were rockers, there was extra pieces of componentry... even the right side didn't have any visual damage, but we replaced everything just to be sure.
“When there's such a whip on the other side, it can transfer through.
“The last thing we need is 'we didn't replace that because it should be fine', when it would have taken 10 minutes to do.
“The problem was, there was a whole lot of those 10-minute jobs.
“The good thing is even at 3:45am, we're about the do run-up, and the guys looked at a thing and went 'I'm not 100 percent happy with that, let's swap it'.
“It was only a small bit, but it shows the dedication. It was impressive because we were all pretty tired at that stage, and for them to go 'yep, cool, get the part and put it on'. It was good.”
Dutton affirmed that the nature of the repair meant it had limited impact on the team’s thin stockpile of spare parts specific to the ZB model.
“The splitter is gone, and a left-front door. We did the left-rear door as well because it wasn't as beautiful as it could be,” he said.
“[But] we haven't eaten heavily into that [the ZB spares]. It's all the chassis spares that we had a good chunk of. When you do a full car rebuild, that's decent.
“But we're still fine, we carry three sets to rebuild a car several times let alone be able to supply customers with chassis parts, not just ZB parts.”