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Walkinshaw excited by 2020 prospects

Tom Howard

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Tuesday 3rd December, 2019 - 6:00am

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Walkinshaw Andretti United will have a new look in 2020

Walkinshaw Andretti United co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw has tipped his squad to build on its strong finish to the Supercars season as it prepares for a new dawn in 2020.

The squad is set for a major overhaul next year with a brand new driver line-up spearheaded by one of the most talented drivers on the grid in Chaz Mostert.

Mostert is likely to be partnered by Super2 series winner Bryce Fullwood as the pair replace 2010 champion James Courtney and Scott Pye, who have joined Team Sydney and Team 18 respectively.

The engineering department is also expected to be bolstered with top Tickford Racing engineer Adam De Borre among the new faces.

WAU’s internal changes come after a disappointing season that saw the squad finish sixth in the standings with a podium at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 its best result.

However, it ended the campaign strongly, recording 12 top 10 finishes out of 14 opportunities across its cars over the last four events.

The upturn in form, explained by the team’s focus on 2020 development, has left Walkinshaw optimistic his new look outfit can hit the ground running next year.

The new signings are part of the team’s ongoing plan to bring it back to the sharp end of the grid that includes a long term desire to lure a new manufacturer to the sport in the future.

“Yeah we are (excited), and I think what’s also quite exciting is a lot of development work we’ve done in the back end of the year for the enduros has worked,” Walkinshaw told Speedcafe.com.

“We’ve been in an upward trajectory on performance ever since Tailem Bend.

“We’re pretty confident with the additional changes we’ve got coming into the team that, all things being equal, that trend will continue, but there’s still a lot of unknowns for next season.”

The unknowns Walkinshaw refers to surround the technical changes Supercars will undergo for 2020.

The championship will reduce the downforce the cars create by approximately 12 percent, which will see both the Holden ZB Commodore and Ford Mustang re-homologated, a process being undertaken by the category this week.

Teams will also be forced to run a control damper while engines will lose 15 horsepower to improve durability and cut costs on rebuilds.

“We’ve got the new homologation process for the body shapes,” he said.

“We’re going to have the new control damper, which we’re actually running a variation of for testing for Supercars on our cars (at Newcastle) – which hopefully we’ve provided some good data and done some good work for them.

“I mean, like everything, you plan, plan, plan and there’s things you don’t know that aren’t really in your control and you’re going to have to work with to do the best job as you can when you have the opportunity in front of you.”

Evident not only in Supercars but in other motorsport disciplines, significant changes in regulations can often result in a team that has previously struggled bouncing back to the fore.

In Supercars, Brad Jones Racing were among the quickest to grasp the Car of the Future concept in 2013, which saw the Albury squad rack up five wins and a further 15 podiums finishes to end the year third in the standings.

While the changes for 2020 are nowhere near as extensive compared to 2013, Walkinshaw is hopeful hard work behind the scenes will provide a much stronger campaign compared to 2019.

“I think we were there last year fighting, but this year’s obviously been extremely disappointing and frustrating,” Walkinshaw added.

“I’d like to say that we’ll do better next year than we did this year, I don’t think that bar is very high.

“We’ve got to make sure we do all the hard work in the background.

“As I’ve said, we’ve been seeing a big increase in performance with some of our new development we’ve been working on.

“Everyone knows that we’ve got some driver changes coming.

“Hopefully everyone knows we’ve committed to some additional engineering resources, while also hopefully that supplements what we’ve already got.”

The 2020 Supercars season will begin with the Superloop Adelaide 500 from February 20-23.

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