Chassis shuffles

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 06/04/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Prodrive Racing Australia has had to reassess plans for its various chassis ahead of next week’s WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint, where its six V8 Supercars Championship and Dunlop Series cars hit the track.

The change follows Chris Pither’s crash at Symmons Plains – the Ice Break drivers’ second accident in as many Championship rounds.

Dunlop Series Clipsal 500 race winner Garry Jacobson is expected to step into the repaired chassis Pither crashed at Adelaide, while Pither will remain in the car he raced in Tasmania, which came back with mostly cosmetic damage.

A new chassis for 2015 champion Mark Winterbottom has been in production, but there has been no hurry to shift The Bottle-O racer into a new car.

It had been earmarked for a possible Phillip Island debut, but will be delayed due to the workload after Pither’s accidents.

“His new car, we’re tinkering along in the background – the car is there so we just haven’t made a full decision on when we roll it out, it’ll be the next month or two,” Prodrive boss Tim Edwards told v8supercars.com.

“[Phillip Island] was the original target date but we’ve just got other stuff going on so we don’t want to rush it. There’s nothing wrong with his current car, so it’s just one of those things.

“Yeah, we need to bring it into circulation at some point but we’re in no rush to. [It’ll be] sometime in the next month or two.”

The shuffle, and delay to Winterbottom’s new car, is a reminder that V8 Supercars is a team game, where one drivers’ setback can affect the whole stable.

It was illustrated in 2014 with Brad Jones Racing after Jason Bright’s monumental rollover at the Clipsal 500, which effectively pushed the team’s development schedule back for the entire season.

“Absolutely, there’s a knock-on effect,” Edwards said.

“We’ve only got a finite amount of resource.

“You don’t plan for big accidents, so when they happen you just have to deal with them and it naturally impacts the rest of your production. Whether that’s spare parts, new parts, it has to have an impact because we don’t just have fabricators, machinists, and composite guys sitting on the workbench waiting for some work.”

Winterbottom sits fourth in the V8 Supercars Championship standings after his podium finish in Tasmania on Sunday.

Jacobson and second Prodrive Dunlop Series driver Jack Le Brocq hold the top two positions in the category standings after one round at the Clipsal 500. 

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