Brad Jones Racing is showing just how serious it is about being a contender for the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
With Fabian Coulthard and Jason Bright sitting fifth and seventh in the V8 Supercars Championship – and less than 300 points away from leader Jamie Whincup, the amount awarded for a win in each of the next two races – the small team cannot be underestimated.
Having undergone two test days in the last two weeks to ensure everything runs smoothly, the team has also been mindful of co-drivers’ seat time and what will help ensure success behind the wheel.
Coulthard’s co-driver Luke Youlden had not completed many racing miles this year, having only competed in the Porsche Rennsport event in May – so the team fielded a car in the Dunlop Series for him at the Winton 360, despite the workload running six cars at one event produced.
According to team boss Brad Jones, the seat time was invaluable for Youlden, and therefore the team’s enduro campaign.
“There’s nothing like starting races and close contact with other cars to get you in the swing of things for the events coming up,” Jones said. “I thought it was priceless.
“You really need to be racing something, and that’s what he was doing.”
The team’s support has been a boost for Youlden, who finished sixth overall in the Dunlop round in the ‘Think Holden’ branded VE II.
“I guess that’s one of the positives of being at BJR – management has been there and done it in terms of races and knows what it’s like from a driver’s point of view,” the 34-year old said. “Brad particularly knows, as a co-driver, leading into a race without too many miles.
“Leading into the contract negotiations, they chased me reasonably hard – not just the team, but Fabian. It’s all good validation they’re wanting someone with my experience.”
Youlden is aiming for a ‘three-peat’ of ARMOR ALL Pole Positions at the ‘500’ after a front row start with Shane van Gisbergen at Sandown last year and at Phillip Island with Will Davison the year prior.
And while he hadn’t expected a win in the Dunlop Series outing, sixth overall is a result he – and Jones – were both happy with.
“It was about attacking a meeting really,” Youlden explained.
“Starts, warm up laps, grid positioning – it’s good to get that under your belt – attacking cars, defending and working on race-craft. In co-driver sessions and test day you don’t race or defend your position…
“Fabian’s driving extremely well. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate or car, that’s for sure. BJR go pretty well in the enduros, though it’s fair to say they don’t enjoy the advantage they had at the start of the year.”
The small team was unstoppable at the second event in Tasmania, combined Bright and Coulthard have recorded five Championship wins this season, and stood on the podium 17 times in 27 races.
Though Jones was disappointed a BJR car didn’t break through for the win at Winton, with both Coulthard and Bright achieving podium finishes, he said that pain would be soothed by victory in the coming events.
“It will be great racing, I hope,” Jones said of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
“Twelve different winners in a season is fantastic, and the fact that people turn up at races and don’t have a clue who’s going to win is great for our sport.”
Jones’ nephew Andrew Jones will pair with Bright in the Team BOC entry and Chris Pither with David Wall in the Wilson Security Holden Commodore. Wall enjoyed a season best finish of 10th at the Winton 360.
The PIRTEK Enduro Cup begins with the Wilson Security Sandown 500 next Friday September 13.