The four-car Walkinshaw Racing crew is bound tighter than ever following a horror Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, says technical director Mathew Nilsson.
The factory Holden outfit endured a weekend from hell at Mount Panorama starting with a major crash from Garth Tander during Thursday practice.
The team worked through the night to have the car repaired, only to see it out of the weekend for good when a brake failure caught out co-driver Warren Luff in Saturday morning’s Practice 6.
That left the team without a single representative in the Top 10 Shootout as it struggled to tune its Holdens to the resurfaced circuit.
The race saw its James Courtney/Greg Murphy entry crippled by electrical problems from the outset, with even the 70 minute red flag not proving enough to get on top of the issues.
Tim Slade then heavily damaged the Supercheap Auto Holden with a crash at Reid Park not long after the 100 lap mark, leaving the squad’s fortunes resting on the fourth entry of Nick Percat and Oliver Gavin.
With the majority of the team’s crew transferred to the #222 garage, Percat rose from 10th at the final restart to finish a surprise third, passing two out-of-fuel cars on the final lap alone.
“That result is going to go a long way to giving some encouragement towards fixing the cars, getting to the Gold Coast and keep pushing,” Nilsson told Speedcafe.com post-race.
“Getting that third is probably as good a feeling as I’ve had getting a win here because of the effort that the team went through during the week.”
Percat’s fourth Walkinshaw entry was added to the squad amid a major personnel restructure for the 2014 season.
The changes included hiring several new engineers and mechanics, who have since gelled together under the leadership of ex-Red Bull principal Adrian Burgess and ex-Ford Performance Racing man Nilsson.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys and how hard they worked all weekend with the carnage and disappointment,” continued Nilsson.
“Everyone in the team should feel part of it (the third place) because all weekend, even during the race, we were sharing resources within the garage.
“No one gave up, they just kept putting in the effort, getting involved and backing each other up.
“That’s what Walkinshaw Racing is now all about. It’s one team and four solid cars.”
The team is now racing to have four cars ready for the Castrol Edge Gold Coast 600, with only a week remaining until pre-event transporter park-up at the Surfers Paradise circuit.
The team has just one spare car, which was left as a rolling chassis after being repaired from a crash while in Slade’s hands at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“We have to build the spare car up for GT and it’s going to be a big effort to get Sladey’s (Bathurst chassis) fixed,” said Nilsson.
“The turn-around time from here to the Gold Coast with the damage we’ve seen is hard for a lot of teams.
“But you always get it done because you’ve got to, you just pull out all the stops and make it happen.”
VIDEO: Warren Luff’s Saturday Bathurst crash