Red Bull technical director Ludo Lacroix says the team will ‘go to places we haven’t been before’ with the set-up of Jamie Whincup’s Holden at Queensland Raceway this weekend.
After missing Townsville, Lacroix returns to his role overseeing the technical operations of the team, which is pushing hard to resurrect Whincup’s troubled season.
Although Lacroix had originally been slated to take over race engineering duties at Ipswich, the team decided post-Townsville to continue with team manager Mark Dutton, who had initially reunited with Whincup for a one-off event.
Dutton continues to manage the team at the workshop, before handing the reins to owner Roland Dane for the race weekends.
“Dragging out Mark, who is a fantastic team manager, back in his old position is a plus for us because he’s going to give us a little bit of confidence,” said Lacroix ahead of the weekend.
“We are going to go to places we haven’t been before. We have to experiment, but we have to experiment with a strong hand.
“Someone who will say ‘go there, I’ve got the line, I’m keeping you there, but trust me’. That’s difficult when you don’t have that history of six championships together and so on.”
Red Bull has restructured its engineering operations as part of the mid-season shake-up, with Whincup’s former engineer David Cauchi now labelled ‘performance engineer’ on car #1.
Jon McGregor, formerly the data engineering for both cars, has been assigned to the corresponding role on Lowndes’ car, which continues to be race engineered by Grant McPherson.
The team has notably avoided further recruitment as part of its efforts to boost performance.
“As soon as we can discover a nicer area (set-up window) for the car, we can put back people who don’t need to be so strong and have a strong bond with Jamie,” continued Lacroix.
“I was preparing to go there if needed, be we found that the structure is good like that and we just go ahead for as long as it takes to get back with it, basically.”
Whincup continued to struggle for outright speed in Townsville, but improved throughout the weekend to take ninth and fifth place finishes.
“It’s all about trying to move forward and pick up from where we left off at Townsville,” he said of Ipswich.
“We made some big gains on the car and got some good direction so we’ve been working really hard to make sure we continue that.
“Every round here on is critical for me, no more than Queensland Raceway. It’s going to be good opportunity to show if we’ve really made a gain or we just got lucky at Townsville.”
Red Bull has a formidable record at Queensland Raceway, winning eight of the last 11 races at the venue between Whincup (three) and team-mate Craig Lowndes (five).
Lowndes is currently second in the championship, 248 points behind Mark Winterbottom, with Whincup 391 from the lead in eighth.