DJR boss calls clutch failure a “worrying thing for the category”

Dick Johnson Racing driver Anton De Pasquale suffered a clutch hub failure at Symmons Plains. Picture: InSyde Media

Dick Johnson Racing driver Anton De Pasquale suffered a clutch hub failure at Symmons Plains. Picture: InSyde Media

Shell V-Power Racing Team Principal Ben Croke has described Anton De Pasquale’s Symmons Plains clutch failure as a “worrying thing” for Supercars in general.

The #11 Ford Mustang suffered a broken clutch hub midway through Practice 2 at the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint and was pushed into the Dick Johnson Racing garage.

According to Croke, the new-for-2023 Gen3 race cars are nowhere near the level of mileage which would be considered safe working life for such a part.

“The mechanical issue with Anton’s car in practice was a really strange one,” he said in DJR’s Pirtek Performance Review for the Symmons Plains event.

“We run a control clutch – it’s the same in all 25 cars throughout the field – they were all new at the start of the year, so it’s done just over 2000km.

“Typically, we would run a clutch hub 10,000km – somewhere around that – it’s always crack-tested, it’s always checked.

“So, for that to fail in the way that it did, it’s a really strange and worrying thing for not only us, but the category.”

The issue not only cost De Pasquale the majority of that half-hour hit-out, but also had repercussions for the qualifying session which followed 90 minutes later.

“Start of Practice 2, broke what to me felt like a driveline,” he said.

“Going down the back straight, grabbed a gear, and then, basically, a box of neutrals.

“But, we had to do something which the clutch, which obviously ended that session, and then that problem carried over into qualifying, so ruined a bit of qualifying as well.

“So, it wasn’t what we wanted or needed. [If you] Try different things in the car, you want as much track time as possible; even if you’re not going fast, you’re still learning.

“So, we got robbed of a fair bit of track time, which put us a little bit on the back foot, but we still muscled our way through and got on with it.”

DJR has experienced a significant fall from grace in the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, although it is encouraged by the race pace which it displayed on the Apple Isle.

Only once did either of its drivers qualify better than 16th, with Davison relegated to 20th on the grid due to a penalty for impeding anyway.

However, Davison turned a start of seventh into a finish of fifth in Race 11 and improved a total of 20 positions over the course of the three, Safety Car-free races, while De Pasquale’s net gain from lights out to chequered flag added up to 22 positions.

“I think our race cars were actually really good,” remarked Croke.

“We moved forward a lot of positions in all three races throughout the weekend, so plenty to dig through and lots of positives to get for that.”

DJR is set to test on Thursday, June 1 at Queensland Raceway.

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