Report card: James Moffat

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 09/06/2016
  • By Bruce Newton

With a break between Winton and Darwin, supercars.com is analysing the drivers’ results and performances in this first part of the season. The racing is the closest in history, with nine different winners in 11 races.

James Moffat of Garry Rogers Motorsport during the Woodstock Winton SuperSprint,  at the Winton Motor Raceway, Winton, Victoria, May 20, 2016.

James Moffat, Wilson Security GRM
Engineer:
Manuel Sanchez

Average qualifying position: 18.5
Average finishing position: 17.1
Championship position: 20
Points to leader: 537
Wins: 0
Pole positions: 0

Best result: Phillip Island Saturday, seventh.
Backed up by fifth qualifying the next day.

Low point: Winton 26th in the Saturday race.

For: Moffat is a fierce, fast racer who has always been expected to blossom in the right car. When it was announced he was signing to join his good mate Scotty McLaughlin at GRM in the Volvo S60 plenty of us thought his time had come. He has shown that form at Phillip Island, the track which clearly suits the slick, fast Volvo better than any other track in the championship. His terrific qualifying run on the Sunday was compromised by having to take the B strategy in the race and then he ran off on the last lap while defending eighth from a charging Chaz Mostert.

Against: Moffat has made it clear he cannot drive the S60 with McLaughlin’s loose, oversteering set-up. But so far he and new engineer Manuel Sanchez have been unable to find an alternative set-up that works anywhere near as well. Right now Moffat looks little better than the two drivers who preceded him in #34 – David Wall and Robert Dahlgren. All due respect to those two gentleman but that’s just not right. There is something seriously wrong in the mix here. Add the uncertainty over what GRM is doing beyond this year and it’s no wonder Moffat’s countenance is angrier than usual.

James Moffat of Garry Rogers Motorsport during the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint,  at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Phillip Island, Victoria, April 15, 2016.

The team: GRM is transitioning from a group of good blokes to a super-serious race team. The work on pit stops, strategy and car speed have all been well documented, as has all the drama with Volvo and McLaughlin’s future. It needs Moffat up and firing if it is to improve its pitlane position for next year. Achieving that is a great test of its new-found maturity.

Rating: D+
He’s a better driver than this, but results aren’t.

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