Penrite Racing late-season surge “cool thing to watch” for David Reynolds
Reynolds scored more points than any other driver since Bathurst
Team 18-bound driver finished 2023 with four straight podiums
Seeing Penrite Racing step up in the final rounds of 2023 was a “cool thing to watch” for David Reynolds, who finished the season in red hot form.
Reynolds, who is off to Team 18 in 2024, was languishing in 19th in the drivers’ standings after a costly DNF at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
He recovered from an early-race penalty to finish fifth in Bathurst, before reeling off four podiums in a row in the final four races to finish ninth overall.
In the space of three events, Reynolds finished fifth, third, first, third and third, and overturned a 276-point deficit to the top 10 to finish in the top nine.
In that time, rookie Matt Payne found form with a maiden front row start at the Gold Coast, before dominating on Sunday to win the VAILO Adelaide 500.
“The car’s come alive the last four rounds, but that sort of goes back to Tailem Bend, the cars were pretty strong,” he said.
“[Since The Bend] we’ve tried to aim to be fastest Ford, and most of the time we’ve been able to achieve that.
"It’s been a really cool thing to watch."
For 2017 Bathurst winner Reynolds, it was the culmination of a three-year project by Stephen and Brenton Grove after they bought into Kelly Racing in 2021.
Reynolds arrived from Erebus Motorsport and scored a podium at Sandown in his fifth race, before being a regular contender for trophies in the first full season of Grove ownership.
In that time, the Groves had recruited star engineers David Cauchi and Grant McPherson, the former signing on as Team Principal. The team’s facilities have also been upgraded this year.
A pole and podium in Newcastle offered fresh hope for 2023, but a mid-season lull saw both Penrite Ford drivers drop down the standings.
The form returned at the OTR SuperSprint, and had the #26 Mustang not lost a wheel and crashed early in the Sandown enduro, Reynolds would have finished even higher.
“I was there when it was Kelly Grove Racing, when it was Todd and Stephen running the show,” Reynolds said.
“After Todd left, I saw Stephen pulling people like David Cauchi, Grant McPherson… I’m like, ‘This guy means business’.
“We’ve grown as a unit together all year, we worked really hard together, everyone's put their head down and worked so hard on this car.”
Reynolds will make his debut for Team 18 at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 on February 23-25 next year.