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DJR leader labels 2023 a political battle

DICK Johnson Racing team principal Ben Croke can sum up the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship in two words: Strange and tough.

The first season of the Gen3 platform proved challenging, with various teething issues of the all-new cars compounded by a rolling parity brawl.

Ford, for which DJR is the Supercars homologation team, expressed parity concerns as far back as during 2022 prototype testing, and the off-track war waged almost all year.

Chevrolet dominated the first 10 rounds of the season before a Mustang aero upgrade was approved prior to the Gold Coast, leading to Blue Oval drivers sweeping the final four races.

DJR was central to both the post-Darwin misstep and the pre-Gold Coast advancement, and took pleasure in witnessing Ford come to the fore, even if its own Shell V-Power Mustangs remained somewhat subdued.

“It’s satisfying that over the course of the year our hard work has paid off in what we’ve done for Ford,” said Croke.

“It’s been a battle, politically, but ultimately we’ve done a lot of hard work and it has been successful.

“As a team we didn’t really benefit in the last couple of rounds, but the results for the Mustang showed what we had done.

“Now it’s time to move on. There’s a lot more work still to be done, which will keep us busy over the break, and then we’ll focus as a team on what we need to do better in 2024.”

Ben Croke. Pic: Ross Gibb

Some of that work includes the upcoming aero wind tunnel testing which will take place at Windshear in the United States – something which Croke’s Triple Eight counterpart Jamie Whincup hopes will ensure in-season changes are not required next year.

DJR is also taking on more responsibility regarding powertrain performance, buying out and taking over Herrod Performance Engines as the control supplier for Ford teams.

That transaction was due to be completed on Friday December 1, with more details set to be announced in due course.

DJR is retaining Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale as its primary drivers for 2024.

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