How test day turned DJR's 2023 around

03 Aug
Three rounds, three trophies for DJR after 'terrible' start

A strong mid-season test has proven a key catalyst to the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s return to form in 2023, says Team Principal Ben Croke.

Dick Johnson Racing, Ford’s homologation team, started 2023 on the back foot after a torrid pre-season testing run.

Through the first four rounds, neither Anton De Pasquale or Will Davison recorded a podium finish, and at times, couldn’t crack the top 10 at all.

Prior to the betr Darwin Triple Crown, the team tested its two Gen3 Mustangs at Queensland Raceway, and found some answers.

Davison scored first-up podium in Darwin, before De Pasquale won in Townsville and finished third in Sunday’s Sydney finale.

Speaking after Sunday’s race, Croke said the team now has confidence on and off-track, given it has sorted the issues that plagued the opening rounds.

“We started the year terribly,” Croke said.

“The first two or three times that we ran the new cars were days that were littered with issues, so we got no effective testing in.

“We turned around and we sort of fixed our problems throughout the first few events and had a really good test day in June.

“Since that test day then, there was a podium in Darwin for Will, Anton’s win in Townsville, and then we managed to do it again.


“So there’s confidence, and it starts making sense now, and we’re not having those issues that we had earlier on in the year.”

De Pasquale was one of the fastest cars on track on Sunday, and passed Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Broc Feeney for third on the final lap.

The 28-year-old was as low as 20th in the drivers’ championship standings during the season, but is now 13th and closing on the top 10.

“The car was obviously a lot better than yesterday,” De Pasquale said after Sunday’s race.

“The undercut worked for us on a few cars and I was just able to keep the rear on it a couple of laps longer than Broc, which got me here.

“It’s a pretty good feeling when you’re really nowhere on the Saturday and you can turn it around and we have done that a couple of times this year, so we’ll look into that.

“We have got a couple more base points of understanding the car with a couple of different tracks now, so hopefully we can go to the next few ones and roll out a little bit stronger and progress from there.”

Davison is 11th in the points, with the Ford squad just 86 points from fourth in the teams’ championship.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the OTR SuperSprint on August 18-20.

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