Home' Supercar Xtra : Dec 2018 Jan 2019 Issue 108 Contents 62 SUPERCAR XTRA
The two Red Bull cars were running at
1600psi and our car was running around
1200psi. It couldn’t generate the force or
the pressure in the system that we needed.
Richards: We just couldn’t work out why it
was doing it, so that was the weirdest thing.
We had so many instruments and tools to
look at but the guys just couldn’t find this
anomaly. They had no idea.
SX: Bizarre than that you showed up
Sunday and it had disappeared.
Richards: They basically changed the
whole of the steering system. They made
up new power-steering lines on both the
high pressure and the low-pressure side of
the system. They even did a little bit of a
redesign to try and counter something that
might have been impacting. The reality is,
in the end, whatever they did, the car was
sorted out by Sunday morning.
SX: How much of a relief was it to go
into the warm-up on Sunday and find
that it was working properly?
Lowndes: We had a big window between
Saturday-morning practice to Shootout,
and that was when they completely
changed the system from top to bottom.
The Shootout was more of an observa-
tion lap of making sure that it was actually
going to work. We didn’t quite maximise it,
which is why I think we went from sixth to
ninth, but at the end of the day the worst
we were getting was 10th. It felt okay, but
we still weren’t 100 per cent confident
because that was one lap and the pressure
was dropping over a distance.
It wasn’t until we did multiple laps in the
Sunday morning warm-up that we really
were confident that we had got on top of
it. So we probably fixed it midway through
Saturday, but we just weren’t sure until
that Sunday morning warm-up.
SX: It was a funny race because there
weren’t a lot of incidents. I think when
we spoke to you at about lap 80, Craig,
you said the track was coming to the
car and everything was looking really
good. Does it just happen like that
sometimes? Some days the seas part
and off you go?
Lowndes: We talked about it beforehand
and our experience taught us pretty well.
We wanted the car to feel like it’s the
beginning of the race when the rubber goes
down. We knew it would help the car and
turn it into one that’s well-balanced. Which
I think experience definitely counts for a
lot at a place like Bathurst. Yeah, we had a
bit of luck... how often do you see a wheel
come off a car? Car #1 was really strong
throughout the week, and Dave Reynolds
was another car that could’ve won; they
were dominant, but then with Dave’s
problems it obviously took them out of the
We were positioning ourselves through-
out the race nicely. We lost a little bit of
time with Steve’s entry at pitlane, but we
were lucky enough that that was early in
the race so we had time to make that up.
Our stops were good, our brake-pad
changes were okay, but they weren’t the
fastest, though they definitely weren’t the
slowest. As the track rubbered up we got
our positioning back. When it started to
rain we were still very quick and were able
to close up onto the leaders. We just kept
clawing back to the front.
SX: It was only 20 seconds lost for
Richo’s pitlane indiscretion, which
isn’t really that bad.
Richards: If you look at it from my per-
spective, I would say no, it’s not. But I was
still pissed off that it happened. It was a
situation where I got myself in the position
during that stint where I was doing a lot of
fuel saving. We were going pretty comfort-
ably at that point.
I had it in reverse almost before I
stopped. I knew I wasn’t going in that hot,
so I knew I wasn’t going to hit the wall.
Anyway, my therapist says I’m getting over
it and I should be all right...
SX: There’s a trophy that helps you get
over it, isn’t there?
Richards: Yeah, it definitely does. It’s one
of those situations where I think a lot of
guys see the rain coming and they don’t
drive to the grip of the car. They drive to
the wet on the windscreen.
Lowndes: We learned early in the week-
end where the crossover point was for
the tyres. I feel like we probably could’ve
pushed a little harder, but you don’t want
to go over the limit and stick it into the
Roland said he was a bit worried at times
that I was, but I felt quite comfortable.
Every now and then Irish (engineer John
McGregor) would get on the radio and
tell me how bad it is across the top of the
mountain. We had a spotter up there, but
by the time the rain had fallen out of the
sky it was almost already evaporated by the
time it hit the ground.
The track had warmth and the tyres had
warmth and you’re able to go through it.
I don’t think at any stage that I was even
contemplating going to wets. You just had
to wait it out.
SX: So tell me about your job Richo,
was it driving to a time or a fuel use? Is
that what you’re looking at as you’re
Richards: No, not really. It just depends
on the situation. That last stint before
handing over I was doing some fuel saving
because the risk to try and pass to get track
position was a lot higher than fuel saving
and getting the track position during the
I had a situation where I think we had
some fuel in hand over two cars in front
and I had been trying to keep cruising
along in the 2:10s. Then the guy peeled off
in front of me and I instantly got in the low
sevens and drove away.
You just evaluate the situation you’re in
at the time, and at any time you can add
value to get a gain in track position for the
stop, it’s what you do. I’m not sure how
other guys do it, but that’s my take on it. At
the end of the day, my job is to make sure
the car comes back to Craig in a position
that he can go and fight for the race win.
SX108 p60-64 Bathurst Winners.indd 62
13/11/18 11:56 am
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