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De Pasquale: What new CEO has brought to DJR

18 Jul
Former AFL coach led Ford team to breakthrough win
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Anton De Pasquale says new Dick Johnson Racing CEO David Noble has brought a strong “vibe” to the team amid a challenging first year in Gen3.

De Pasquale broke through at the NTI Townsville 500 to deliver the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s first victory since September 2022.

The victory was also the first in motorsport for Noble, who joined the team at the end of 2022 amid the arrival of the Ralph family's new ownership.

Noble came in as part of DJR's restructure; Dr Ryan Story stepped down from the day-to-day running of the business, but remains the Non-Executive Chairman.

Noble has an extensive AFL coaching and administration background, and leapt into Supercars amid the biggest car change in history.

DJR suffered a fruitless start to 2023, going winless in the first 16 races with just one podium — Will Davison in Darwin — to its name.

Come Townsville, and a Saturday DNF for De Pasquale due to electrical dramas looked to continue the team’s run.

However, De Pasquale and his #11 crew pieced together a strategic masterclass, boosted by a strong tyre bank, to dominate the race.

Johnson and Noble

For De Pasquale, it was a strong reward for the team, which had kept heads high through the year — motivation largely instilled by Noble.

“Motor racing’s hard, we love it. If you’re looking for something easy in life, motorsport is definitely not for you,” De Pasquale said on the Rusty’s Garage podcast.

“He brings a good vibe in the team… he’s not trying to tell us engineer the car or drive the thing.

“He's giving everyone from the ground up the fundamentals to go racing, and go racing well.

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“The culture’s been good all year. We haven’t had results, but we’ve stuck together.”

Speaking after the race, Noble said: “[The win] nourishes the whole team, even our guys back in Queensland that have been working behind the scenes back in the workshop.

“I think it is just a real energiser for everyone… now we’ve got the capability in the competition at the moment that we’re not quite sure who’s going to win.

“It’s a real boost for us to get that energised feeling now of going back to work and continuing to push to get back up here on a more regular basis."

'He's giving everyone from the ground up the fundamentals to go racing'

DJR is one of the form teams at Sydney Motorsport Park, which will host next weekend’s Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight.

In his last 15 starts in Sydney, De Pasquale has nine podiums — including five wins — and eight pole positions.

Given the car changes, De Pasquale acknowledged backing up in Sydney will be a challenge, but the Ford ace was excited to deliver a win for Noble and many new members of DJR.

“It’s cool for him to get his first win in motorsport land,” De Pasquale said of Noble.

“It’s not an easy thing, there’s a lot of quick cars out there and the races are hard.

“It’s not just him, there are a few new people in our team who haven’t been a part of our wins and podiums.

“For a lot of guys on my car, it’s their first trophy as well, which is really cool. We got to enjoy that together."

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight on July 28-30. Tickets are on sale now.

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