Cauchi: What Penrite Racing must do to beat Triple Eight

10 May
Rising star Matt Payne has led three of the last four races, but Penrite Racing remains winless after three rounds
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Work needed on Penrite Racing race pace, says David Cauchi

  • Matt Payne has led three of the last four races

  • Triple Eight leads both championships heading to Perth

David Cauchi says Penrite Racing must improve its race pace to take the challenge to — and beat — Triple Eight.

Rising star Matt Payne has led three of the last four races, but the Ford team remains winless after three rounds.

Most recently, Payne led the Taupō finale from pole position, but was overtaken by Broc Feeney early on before settling for fourth, with Will Brown winning.

Triple Eight has so far had the running in race trim, demonstrating superior tyre life — something Payne alluded to after the race.

019-Payne-EV03-24-MH1 3868

Stanaway and Payne are fourth and fifth in the drivers’ points, with Penrite Racing second in the teams’ standings — but Team Principal Cauchi, formerly a long-time engineer at Triple Eight, wants more.

“Matt on the Sunday, we didn’t have the race pace to match the other two blue cars,” Cauchi said in a new team video, The NED Whisky Review.

“We’ve got to go away and really analyse that, and have a good, hard think about what we need to do match those guys in race trim.

“We’ve proven that we can beat them in qualifying, but we can’t be going from pole to fourth in races, that’s not where we need to be.”

Despite taking encouragement from poles and podiums, CEO Brenton Grove said the team needs time to maximise its potential.

“We don’t want to accept results that aren’t where we want to be,” Grove said.

Feeney passes Payne for the race lead

“So, there are some positives certainly, but we’ve led three races and won none of them. That shows the story of the year and where we are.

“We’ve got performance, we’ve got potential, but we’re not maximising it. That’s the focus for us moving forward, but that’s also the part that takes a bit of time.

“Matt’s in his second year, and Richie’s in his first year back after a while off. There are some growing pains, but at the end of the day, we’re on the right trajectory.

“Hopefully we can have that breakthrough, and once it comes, we’ll be a hard team to stop. But, there’s a lot of things we want to do to do that consistently.”

The Grove squad won two of the last three races in 2023, with Payne breaking through in Adelaide after David Reynolds won on the Gold Coast, and entered 2024 as title dark horses.

019-Payne-EV03-24-MH1 4425

At first glance at the points standings, the team has met expectations — but Cauchi reiterated that his team is determined to bring home wins.

“Our results so far have been positive, but on a lot of levels, maybe a bit disappointing,” Cauchi said.

“The expectation within the team now is very high, coming off a few wins at the end of last year. Once you’ve tasted that, it’s hard to go back to thirds and fourths.

“I think we want more out of the year. We want to keep improving, and we’re definitely doing that. Sitting second in the teams’ championship is really positive, but the gap to first is bigger than we would like."

The season will resume in Perth on May 17-19. Tickets for the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint are on sale now. International viewers can follow all the action on Superview.

Related News