Pit stops a focus for DJR

Will Davison’s battle hardened Mustang during Race 2, Newcastle, 2023. Image: Ross Gibb Photography

Shell V-Power Racing Team boss David Noble says that the squad has ‘found a window’ with the Gen3 Ford Mustang but is working on certain processes including pit stops heading into Supercars Round 3 at Perth.

After an uncharacteristically poor start to the 2023 season at Newcastle, where neither of the team’s cars finished in the top 10 in either race, there was a somewhat return to form at the second round at Albert Park as part of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

While the Camaros of Erebus and Triple Eight took all four race wins of the Melbourne SuperSprint, the Shell Mustangs were back in the hunt with Anton De Pasquale breaking through to score pole position for Race 3 in the #11 entry.

Will Davison crossed the line in second place for Race 5, which the team deemed solid progress despite the #17 being demoted to 11th after a post-race penalty.

“We’ve really been able to iron out a few niggles that we had really quite important ones that we faced in Newcastle with the clutch, which was causing us all sorts of grief,” Davison told Speedcafe after Albert Park.

“We’ve been able to really work on some car setup; we’re really sort of finally starting to understand a bit of direction as to what these cars like.”

That sentiment is echoed by Noble, who joined the team in December 2022 as part of a restructure that saw the Ralph family become majority shareholders of the organisation, effective from January this year.

“The engineers have found a path I think that’s working towards where they’d like to get the car in the right window,” Noble told Speedcafe.

“I think we’re finding some good tools as well to tweak the car up as we’re getting to understand it now.

“I think a couple of the changes, the right height at the back, you know, the extra lift has helped us,” Noble added.

“We’ve had more time, I think, to analyse race data from that side of things. So the boys have worked really hard; credit to them to get the cars back into a level of competitiveness that they’re quite happy with.”

Yet Noble knows that the job is far from done, especially in the midst of ongoing parity discussions and testing between the Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang.

For the new team boss, the road back to the top of the dais for DJR includes processes beyond the race cars themselves, such as pit stops – the most painful example a slow stop that cost Davison any chance of victory during Race 29 in Pukekohe last year.

So far this season, issues with wheel nuts have caused both testing and pit stop issues for teams across the Supercars field.

The Gen3 control alloy wheel employs a smaller nut than previously, retained by a circlip rather than large, machined tangs.

DJR seemed to suffer some issues during practice pit stops on the Wednesday at Albert Park, as witnessed by Speedcafe, but was more fortunate across the four races during the event.

“We’ve put more time into certain elements around what we need to improve on; pit stops are one example,” the DJR boss said.

“We need to continue to get better at those … it’s like, ‘okay, now where do we need to focus? Where do we need to target what, what and how are we going to improve?’

“The team did that really well over the last couple of weeks.”

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