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The 'game changer' that saved rollover Commodore

Dunlop Series
26 Jun
"There's no ZB shells floating around, we’d have to reorder one off Triple Eight to get one built. That would take months"
4 mins by James Pavey
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  • Cameron McLeod set to race rebuilt Holden

  • McLeod walked away from scary Perth crash in May

  • Car avoided major damage in frightening rollover

A “game changer” during Cameron McLeod’s dramatic Perth crash has allowed PremiAir Racing to repair the damaged Commodore in time for Townsville.

Rising star McLeod walked away from a scary rollover in the second Dunlop Series race in Perth in May, following contact from Cooper Murray.

Murray was disqualified over the incident, and while McLeod emerged unscathed, the #92 Commodore appeared set for the scrapheap despite hopes of a rebuild.

However, the Gold Coast-based PremiAir squad has turned around an almighty repair job, which was aided by the specifics of the crash itself.

While McLeod went airborne in the accident, the car didn’t sustain major roof or chassis damage, which ensured the car avoided an early retirement.

“The saving grace for it was, when it went over, the rear wing didn't touch the ground,” PremiAir Racing Workshop Foreman Andrew Bell told Supercars.com.

“That left all of the wing assembly itself in one piece, the tailgate and the roof, all untouched.

“In the coverage, you can see where it nosed into the ground into the right-hand front headlight. The bulk of the damage was rail damage at the front, similar to what would happen if you hit a wall.

“The rear damage was actually done when the car came to a standstill and it fell from pretty well being inverted down to the ground.

"The rear wheel had unattached itself from the suspension points and it was forward in the wheelhouse, and the car fell on that.

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"So that did a lot of damage around the air jack area. It didn't damage the jack itself, but it damaged the air jack area. It damaged the bodywork along near where the fuel cell is, and it deformed the rear rail.”

Had the car dug into the ground and caused significant chassis damage, McLeod could have been forced into a new car, which could have seen the teenager benched for Townsville.

"The fact that when it went over, it was up off the ground and the top of the car didn't touch the ground, that was a game changer,” Bell explained.

"That had the potential to damage particular parts of the bar work on the car that we can't replace. There's no ZB shells floating around, we’d have to reorder one off Triple Eight to get one built. That would take months.
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“So, this particular car wouldn't be turning a wheel."

The team received the car in the days after the crash, following the long journey from Perth. After the car was disassembled, PremiAir Racing sent it to Triple Eight, with the chassis placed on a jig.

The car recently returned and was sent away for painting, before a crew of four PremiAir staff got cracking on the reassembly.

“On return back to the factory, the guys disassembled the car. We did a bit of a visual analysis on it, and all of the bar work was all untouched, which was a good thing,” Bell said.

“Triple Eight had the car for nearly three weeks, and then it was quite a quick turnaround. We received it first thing last Friday, it went to the paint shop, and the paint shop had it back to us by first thing Saturday morning.

“Since then there's been a crew of four guys assembling the car, so all of the drivetrain's in, the suspension's in, the brakes are bled. We've run the engine up already. The bulk of the bodywork is back on it now.

“It's gained a lot of traction in the last few days, that's for sure."

Bell said that while there is optimism to get the car out for a test day on Thursday, the team still has the ability to prepare for Townsville via a set-up patch, which will help McLeod hit the track running next week.

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"The most important thing is that the car is on point with all of the parts that we've had to replace,” he said.

"Obviously, in an accident like that, there's impact damage on components that we have to be 100 percent sure are right when they've gone back together.

"So once the car's all assembled, we will need a few hours to do a really good function check on the car, make sure that everything is working the way that it should be.

“The car will go on the set-up patch before Townsville. Whether we get it done in time to do a quick shakedown on it before Townsville, that’s optimistic.

"The good thing is that the transaxle ratio and the track direction between Queensland Raceway and Townsville are much the same. So we can potentially put the Townsville set-up in it."

It was the second Super2 car that required a post-Perth rebuild, with Mason Kelly's Ford repaired following a fiery incident.

McLeod is fifth in the Super2 standings, 165 points behind Kai Allen, heading to the NTI Townsville 500 on July 5-7.

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