Coulthard thriving leading Team Sydney direction
Saturday 13th February, 2021 - 6:00am
A refreshed Fabian Coulthard is relishing the opportunity to have Team Sydney built around him as the start of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship closes in.
Coulthard’s off-season move has brought with it something of a culture shock; from the ultra-professional DJR Team Penske operation to the more relaxed Webb family-run squad.
With it has come a reset of expectations but also a renewed opportunity to be a team leader.
Coulthard’s star shone bright during his Brad Jones Racing days where he established himself as a race-winner.
That paved the way to a five-year tenure at frontrunning DJRTP, where he played a key role in three teams’ championships but also faced regular scrutiny over his performances relative to ace team-mate Scott McLaughlin.
His case was not helped by the Shell Ford squad centring themselves around McLaughlin – whose driving style is vastly different to Coulthard’s, making for cars that perhaps were developed in an unfavourable manner for the 38-year-old.
That will be no such problem at Team Sydney, where Coulthard is the clear star, armed with engineering guru Geoffrey Slater. Third-year driver Garry Jacobson is his team-mate.
Coulthard declared he was “really excited” about the task of driving the team forward.
“It’s early days but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“I’ve gone from a world-class outfit with the Penske organisation and things like that and come to a family-run business, so it’s certainly not as commercially heavy so we can really focus on the car and making it better. I’m looking forward to that.
“I’m all about a new challenge.
“I had a great time, we had some success up the road [at DJRTP]. To come here it’s probably a low expectation but I’m hungry to go well, Geoff is hungry, Jonathon [Webb, team owner] is hungry as well.
“The recipe is there, we just need to get it back on the right path.”
Coulthard and likely Bathurst 1000 co-driver Webb completed 66 laps between them at the Queensland Raceway pre-season test yesterday.
He acknowledges they might not be straight on the pace by the season-opening Repco Mount Panorama 500 on February 26-28 but progress is being targeted for sooner than later.
“We’d like to fast-track the improvement as quick as we can,” added Coulthard.
“I’m not going to put a timeline on it, obviously Geoff has been out of the Supercars game for a little while so he needs to understand those sort of things as well.
“For me it’s a completely different car, a completely different environment, so like I say I’m not going to put a timeline on it but I’d like to definitely move forward up the grid.”
Coulthard has on seven occasions finished inside the championship’s end-of-year top 10, including a career-best third in 2017 when he long was a chief protagonist in the title battle.