Story: Coulthard deal a natural decision for DJRTP

Tom Howard

Wednesday 28th June, 2017 - 4:00am

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Fabian Coulthard

Securing the services of Fabian Coulthard was a ‘straight forward process’ as DJR Team Penske aims to grow around continuity and stability, according to managing director Ryan Story.

The current Supercars championship leader inked a new deal to extend his stay with the high-flying Queensland operation last week.

Coulthard was among a group of high profile drivers off contract at the end of the season, having joined the squad in 2016 following a four-year stint at Brad Jones Racing.

After scoring two podium finishes in his debut season, the New Zealander has made the most of a stronger FGX package to lead the championship courtesy of three wins in addition to four podiums.

Eager to see his squad continue to push forward with continuity and stability, Story says offering Coulthard a contract extension was a natural decision. The squad has declined to comment on the length of the new deal.

The extension, alongside the already contracted Scott McLaughlin, sees the team enter next season with an unchanged driver line-up for the first time since Penske acquired a controlling stake in the outfit in 2014.

“I think those sorts of decisions come naturally,” Story told Speedcafe.com.

“We don’t take for granted that if you were to look at the Supercars Championship right now our drivers are at the very top end.

“That is a simple account of what we have long known, that to have a solid, strong team you need to have outstanding drivers.

“We have ticked that box and to get results you need to give them a very good car and so far we have managed to do that.

“There is no rocket science behind it. If you give good and capable steerers some good equipment you will get good results.

“To be honest, it (Coulthard’s new deal) was a fairly simple and straight forward process.

“It is the first time in our time as DJR Team Penske where we have entered the proceeding season with the same driver line-up.

“You can talk about continuity and stability, they are both key components for success.”

When asked if the team contemplated the prospect of changing its line up for 2018, Story replied: “I think in both Scott (McLaughlin) and Fabian (Coulthard) we have got two outstanding race drivers.”

Coulthard joined the team armed with a wealth of experience in the category having made his Supercars race debut in 2004.

This year the 34-year-old has faced the prospect of going up against the highly-rated McLaughlin, with several experts expecting the latter to dominate.

However, Story says Coulthard has lifted his game this year which has resulted in a 10 point championship lead over his countryman in the standings.

“Without a doubt (he has lifted his game),” said Story.

“He is working together with a team-mate who has the exact same objectives as ours, and that is to build a strong team. I have the great privilege of seeing all this happen.

“Fabian came to us a guy who we knew was capable of delivering, and having been given the opportunity he has done that for us.”

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