Riding high in fifth place in the V8 Supercars Championship, Fabian Coulthard is predicting more wins for the Brad Jones Racing squad.
The Lockwood Racing Holden Commodore VF driver has broken through to win three Championship races so far in 2013, while teammate Jason Bright has won twice in the BOC Holden.
Neither driver, however, has greeted the chequered flag first since Coulthard’s win at the Austin 400 in Texas back in May, and car development has been slowed because two recent attempts to test have been rained out.
But this week they head to BJR’s home track in northern Victoria for the Winton 360, a place where Bright, who runs sixth in the Championship, in particular has an exceptional record.
“There is no reason we can’t get back up on the top step of the podium,” declared Coulthard. “I have confidence in the team and in the car that we can make it better and we can continue to move forward and get a few more race wins.
“We have proven this year we can run at the front and we can win races. I have won races and Brighty has won races, so everyone is amped and everyone is excited about the rest of the year.
“We definitely have more in the car, we definitely have more speed so it’s not like we are sitting on our hands and can’t see where the rest of the speed is going to come from.”
The 31-year old conceded that the loss of two test days had hurt the team, especially in the first year of the new generation V8 Supercar where appreciable set-up gains are being made as drivers and engineers adapt to the racer.
He said a key to strong Winton performances would be close cooperation with Bright, who scored BJR’s second V8 Supercars Championship race win there in 2011.
“Brighty has been a bit of a stand out at Winton in the last few years. It’s a track he has gone well at, so having a fast teammate who is a bit of stand-out, hopefully we can learn off each other.
“But we have put the car on any track we have been to this year and pretty much qualified well inside the top five … so I am expecting to do the same. You cannot have good tracks and bad tracks, you have to be consistent on all of them and that’s what wins the Championship.
“If you are not having a good weekend you just consolidate. If a bad weekend is a top five then it’s not all bad. We just have to keep finishing races when the car’s not perfect and keep accumulating those points.”
BJR has been one of the biggest improvers of 2013, benefiting from the shift to new machinery from ageing ‘Project Blueprint’ Commodores.
There is a belief around pit lane BJR is ‘punching above its weight’ and will inevitably slide back as the factory teams gather speed, but Coulthard says that while finances are restricted the Albury squad matches anyone for engineering smarts.
“We are only a small family as I call it. We have minimal people on each car, we have got people doing two jobs when the big teams have a person specific for that job.
“Maybe we are seen as punching above our weight; maybe that makes us the underdogs. But I am confident people have started to take notice of what BJR has achieved this year.”
Coulthard is conscious of the progress he has made considering he exited the Clipsal 500 back in March in 22nd place in the Championship after a mechanical failure.
“We are doing everything right, we are collecting points when we need to, we are finishing races. We just need to keep our sights and keep our goals in mind and we will worry about the Championship later on.
“But to be fifth in the Championship I am pretty happy.”