All change at HRT

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/12/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

The Holden Racing Team Commodores of James Courtney and Garth Tander will front at the 2015 season opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide with a completely overhauled technical specification.

Walkinshaw Racing CEO Adrian Burgess confirmed the massive effort put in by the squad's engineering and mechanical crew would continues at breakneck pace over the summer in an attempt to catch and beat fellow factory Holden team, Triple Eight Race Engineering.

"Our Adelaide car will be completely different to the car we were racing (at the Sydney NRMA 500)," Burgess told v8supercars.com.au. "There is that much we want to do and that much we are planning on doing, but it takes time."

The overhaul of the Walkinshaw Racing Commodores will also include Tim Slade's Supercheap Auto Racing entry and a fourth car which is yet to be finalised.

It will be the second summer of fundamental technical change for the team after Burgess arrived from Triple Eight last year and oversaw massive changes that flowed out throughout the season.

Despite an improvement in competitiveness, the four Walkinshaw Racing Commodores continued to languish in terms of results compared to their Triple Eight rivals.

Red Bull star Jamie Whincup won his sixth V8 Supercars championship in seven years, while team-mate Craig Lowndes had a relatively disappointing season, finishing fourth overall. But T8 Commodores still finished one-two with Shane van Gisbergen grabbing the runner-up slot at the season finale in the VIP Petfoods entry run by Burgess' Walkinshaw predecessor Steve Hallam.

Red Bull also won the teams' championship for the fourth straight season.

The four Walkinshaw drivers finished sixth (James Courtney), ninth (Garth Tander), 12th (Nick Percat - HHA Racing) and 17th (Tim Slade). HRT finished third in the teams' championship.

"I am not going to stand here and say ours was a nine out of 10 performance," said Burgess. "It wasn't, it's a six out of 10. But for me, I am still excited because I know we have more stuff coming and we are building the team; improving the cars; the culture has changed quite a lot; the work ethic has changed quite a lot.

"Triple Eight are going to roll out next year as the target for everyone," he added. "We all have to keep raising our game. And hopefully at some point they reach a ceiling where they haven't really got much left in the tank and we are still picking the areas where we need to improve."

Burgess acknowledged a key to Triple Eight's technical superiority is clearly an ability to deliver pace across all types of tracks the championship visits, from fast and smooth Bathurst to the square-edged kerbs and rough surface of the Gold Coast street circuit.

"We don't know what they do on their car and we aren't interested in it," said Burgess. "But we know the areas where our cars are deficient and they are the areas we are working on.

"When we get ourselves back to the front day-in and day-out our car will be different from theirs. They are all different up and down the pitlane to one degree or another."

At times in 2014 Burgess said he had no doubt the Walkinshaw Racing Commodores were the best Holdens in the field. However, those occasions didn't happen often enough and issues such as the #22 car's electrical failure in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 also disguised that competitiveness.

"We are not going into the break disappointed in what we have done," Burgess insisted. "We are going to go into the break quite positive about what we have put together and the weekends where we haven't achieved ... a lot of those (issues) were out of our control."

Burgess' bullish perspective on the team's improvement was backed up by Walkinshaw Group Chairman Ryan Walkinshaw.

"We have had Triple Eight on the back foot at quite a few rounds this year, but at the end of the day the results haven't indicated that as well as they should have.

"I would say we are there or thereabouts. The biggest thing is getting consistency, they are a team that even when they don't win a race they are there or thereabouts whatever happens. So getting that consistency is something we have to work on next year."

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