Brad Jones hails sweet win for revamped team
Brad Jones paid tribute to the resilience of his tight-knit team after bouncing back from key staff exits over the off-season to score victory at Winton.
Lead driver Fabian Coulthard and highly respected engineer Phil Keed both left for DJR Team Penske over summer in what appeared to be significant blows to the Albury based squad.
Keed, who is viewed by many as the leading race engineer in the V8 Supercars paddock over the last decade, had been a key part of BJR since 2010.
Jones recruited driver Tim Slade over the off-season, pairing him with young engineer Julian Stannard, who had previously worked on the squad’s third entry.
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Although results had been hard to come by during the early stages of 2016, Jones said he had faith that the combination simply needed time to gel.
Jones made particular note of the efforts of engineering manager Andrew Edwards, who has overseen the transition into the BJR’s new era.
“It’s been a big change, but we’ve worked pretty hard and Andrew has put together a good group of people,” Jones told Speedcafe.com after his team’s first win in over 14 months.
“It’s always difficult when you lose a couple of key people like we did, but we didn’t have any say in the matter.
“All you can do is turn back up to work the next day and beaver away as hard as you can and try to make sure you’ve got everything in place to continue to be able to win races.
“There’s no doubt that Phil was a larger than life character around the shop, he’s very well respected and credentialed.
“For us to be able to continue to fight for success, Andrew took a lot of that responsibility on himself.
“I think this repays him for a lot of his hard work, along with Julian and everyone in the engineering department that made sure we didn’t drop the ball.
“I think they’ve done an excellent job. It was great for everyone just to get the monkey off our back a little bit.”
Jones put significant faith in Slade to step up and replace Coulthard, who had delivered multiple wins for the team over the 2013-15 period.
Although he had been winless in 217 starts to the end of last year, Jones says Slade had shown enough to prove he could shine in the right environment.
“I think when you look into the facts, Tim was really fast and he hadn’t got a win, but he’d gone close and was at the peak of his game,” said Jones of hiring Slade.
“I think it’s about finding the things that help get a driver… you don’t lose your talent overnight.
“He had a couple of rough experiences and I felt there was something in there.
“The trick is to keep on believing and unlock whatever it is that we need to help get results.
“That’s what we did (on Saturday) and hopefully we’ll be able to do it again.
“I’ve got to say from Tim’s side as well, he’s really, really great to work with.
“He’s committed, nothing is too much trouble, he spends as much time as he needs to in the workshop.
“He works really, really hard on his craft and he’s just been a pleasure to have around the place.”
The V8 Supercars will return to Winton today for qualifying and the 200km Race 11.