Jones targets marked improvement in third Supercars season
Tuesday 24th November, 2020 - 6:00am
Macauley Jones is targeting a marked improvement in his third season of Supercars Championship competition as a full-time driver.
Jones has been a regular feature of the championship since 2015 when he made his Pirtek Enduro Cup debut as a co-driver out of the Brad Jones Racing stable.
After four full seasons in the Super2 Series, the Albury-born driver stepped up to the Supercars Championship in 2019.
Despite a turbulent 2020, the 26-year-old has two full seasons under his belt.
With season number three a matter of months away, Jones junior is eying a significant step forward.
“I feel like this year, in particular, we started to pull in a lot of form and started getting a lot better up there in qualifying and working on the racing side of things as well,” Jones told Speedcafe.com
“As a team, we worked on the set-up quite a lot and got there. I feel like the racing is definitely getting better. It’s just managing tyre loss.
“That’s probably what my focus is for the next year. I sort of feel like we made a big step up in qualifying, and then needed to step up to the race car and make sure that we had a strong race result.”
Team-mate Todd Hazelwood brought up his third season in the Supercars Championship this year.
The 25-year-old made significant strides forward, claiming his first championship podium and pole position in Sydney and Townsville respectively.
Hazelwood isn’t the only driver in the last decade to claim their first podium in their third year as a full-time driver.
David Reynolds first stood on the podium at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 of 2012 alongside Dean Canto.
One year later Scott Pye’s first podium came in his third season as a full-timer at Pukekohe Park for the then known DJR Team Penske.
More recently, Tickford Racing driver Jack Le Brocq claimed his first Supercars Championship race win in Sydney this year.
Jones said he hopes year three will be where he makes his mark after what he believes was a strong end to 2020.
“I definitely feel like I want to keep the momentum that we sort of built towards the end of this year and continue that,” said Jones.
“The first year you’re trying to find your feet and then the next year you’re kind of getting a bit more comfortable.
“Then you’ve been there (to the tracks) a few times heading into your third year.
“So I think it’s definitely something I want to get better at and improve and get close to the pointy end.
“Next year is going to produce a lot of great racing, for the whole series, to be honest.”
Jones said he’s spent less time thinking about targets for next season and more so reflecting on this year’s campaign.
With uncertainty surrounding the race format for 2021, the young gun said he has to remain flexible.
“I pretty much do this every year where you just reflect on what you were strong at and what you were weak at,” he said.
“The start of the 2020 season I wanted to improve on qualifying a lot more, because it just sets up the whole race weekend a lot better. And I feel like by the end, we definitely had improved that.
“We just look at all aspects, what needs to be stronger in our prep heading into the weekend, and how do we make better decisions when we’re in practice and qualifying or heading into a race season.
“Even this year with the racing format like it was, it was a very different format. Whether it’s like that next year, we need to make sure that we’re prepared for it again, or prepared to go back to the other style.
“We didn’t do many pit stops this year and that changes your strategy. We look at pretty much every factor to try and make sure that we’ve got a little bit more gain in every area.”