Consistent Craig!

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/04/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Craig Lowndes' new engineer Grant 'Shippy' McPherson has declared consistency a key to his driver finally claiming a fourth drivers' championship.

While McPherson is averse to actually discussing championship prospects this early in the V8 Supercars season he says there is only one way to be in the frame at the end of the season - and that's consistently collect plenty of points.

"It's all about ticking little boxes along the way and the priority is that we want to emerge from every weekend having scored more points than anyone else," McPherson told v8supercars.com.au.

"We haven't done that yet, although we came very close in Tasmania.

"So our job is to win as many races and weekends as we can and reduce the disappointments. And at the end of 12 months if we have ticked as many of those boxes as we can then it should be a very good year."

McPherson joined the Red Bull-backed Triple Eight Race Engineering after eight years at Ford Performance Racing. He replaced Jeromy Moore at the all-conquering squad, who moved to Porsche's LMP1 World Endurance Championship program after seven years as Lowndes' engineer.

During that period Lowndes and Moore managed to finish second in the championship three times and fourth four times, while team-mate Jamie Whincup won the drivers' title six times in seven years.

While Lowndes has won races every year at Red Bull and contended for the championship, he has only twice taken the title fight with Whincup to the final event of the season.

Lowndes last won the drivers' championship at the Holden Racing Team in 1999.

Lowndes and McPherson have started promisingly this season. While the Clipsal 500 netted only a best result of third and sixth place in the championship, Lowndes dominated qualifying and the Saturday racing at the Tyrepower Tasmania Supersprint in his Holden Commodore VF, before a pitlane penalty for punting David Reynolds ended his chances of winning the double points Race 6.

Lowndes' first corner mistake opened the way for Whincup to take the lead, win the race and take over top spot in the championship.

Lowndes motored back through the field to sixth place and now lies third in the championship as the V8 Supercars teams prepare for the Perth Supersprint at Barabagallo on May 1-3, where Lowndes has the chance to claim a historic 100th touring car/V8 Supercar race win.

"I probably didn't expect to dominate (in Tasmania to) quite to that level but it was good to see some results from the hard work and learning we had put in at Adelaide and the Grand Prix," McPherson said.

"We had been making progress with the car with one of our measuring tools - being Craig's feedback - but we hadn't really had the opportunity to see the gains on the timesheet as yet. So it was good to confirm we were making progress with the set-up path and the driving style working together."

McPherson stresses he hasn't brought radical change to Triple Eight, but admits he has own ideas to apply after eight years on the blue side of pitlane

"The base set-up is still a Triple Eight set-up," he said. "I haven't just rolled in and thrown a Falcon set-up sheet at the car. That's not what has happened.

"The base car is obviously very good - three out of the top four finishers in the championship last year were running a Triple Eight chassis.

"All I have done is come in and finesse differently the approach to the set-up on the weekends, so the little tweaks that turn your car from a good roll-out car into a great qually and race car by the end of practice."

McPherson said that in his short time at Triple Eight he had gained some insight into the reasons for its extraordinary winning run in the championship.

"The underlying attitude in the team could probably be summed up in one word - uncompromising. They want to do everything to win.

"And that flows through every individual in the building, and that for me is the reason. It's more than the set-up direction or horsepower, it's an attitude that means everyone is on the same page and pointing in the same direction."

P.S. If you were wondering, McPherson's nickname comes from when he first joined Ford Performance Racing and was jokingly told he would soon become a 'shipwreck': "It was a throwaway comment and nine years later at my second team it's still going."

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter