The unpredictable 2013 V8 Supercars Championship means Brad Jones Racing won’t consider instituting team orders any time soon.
As the Championship heads to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 from October 10-13, Fabian Coulthard has pulled clearly ahead of teammate Jason Bright on the points ladder for the first time all year.
Coulthard (Lockwood Racing Holden Commodore VF) is sixth in the Championship on 1901 points. Bright (Team BOC Commodore VF) is eighth on 1715 points.
Coulthard, who finished seventh at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 with Luke Youlden, is 246 points off Championship leader Jamie Whincup in the Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore VF.
Bright and Andrew Jones finished only 24th at Sandown after a front-end component broke. Bright now trails Whincup by 432 points.
There are 300 points up for grabs in the second round of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup at Bathurst and another 300 split over two races at the ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600, meaning a distinct swing in fortunes for better or worse is still possible.
“I think if the last eight months have shown me anything it is this is a pretty crazy year in terms of gathering points,” BJR co-owner Brad Jones told v8supercars.com.au. “We certainly can’t afford to have another bad race. For Brighty it’s a long way there, but Fabian still probably has an outside shot at it if we have enough pace.
“But the next two events is another 600 points up for grabs in single and dual races so anything is possible.”
Jones also made the point that the closeness of the racing made it difficult to introduce team orders.
“It's all about trying to get as many wins as you can and I think it is so close in the Championship that you can’t get your teammate to roll over,” Jones said.
“There might be an odd race where he can do it, but I’ve not even looked at it or thought about it to tell you the truth. Right now we just need to get a bit of pace back into the car … plan for Bathurst and worry about the Championship when we are in a position to fight for it.”
BJR’s mediocre performance at Sandown was a rare dip for it in what has been a stellar 2013. The team has never been strong at the suburban Melbourne circuit, a trait that has apparently transferred into the new Car of the Future era.
“I can honestly say Sandown is a place that has not been a happy hunting ground for us ever,” he said. “I don’t know what it is because these are different cars, but maybe there is something fundamentally that we do which we need to go back and have a look at.
“But at the end of the day, if a bad day is seventh, how bad is that?” Jones cautioned. “There was a time not so long ago that would have been a good result for us.”
Which helps boost his confidence that the team’s form will be stronger at Bathurst, where BJR traditionally races competitively however the rest of its season is going.
“I think we will be competitive at Bathurst, although that is not based on any fact.
“Sometimes you don’t have a fast car and things go alright and sometimes you have a fast car and things go crap. It’s difficult to pick, I have been to Bathurst with both, and not got a result with a fast car and got a top five with one that is not so fast. So it’s a long day up there and we just need to make sure we do the best job we can.”