How BJR is trying to get ahead of the Gen3 curve

The BJR fleet at Bathurst. Pic: Brad Jones Racing

BRAD Jones Racing has made a concerted effort this year to tighten its driver/engineer relationships in preparation for Gen3.

BJR starred when the last major regulatory change came into effect a decade ago, collecting five wins and a further eight podiums from the opening five rounds of the 2013 Supercars season.

Next year will see them become one of six teams fielding Chevrolet Camaros against the new Ford Mustang.

It’s anticipated the team will carry continuity across all four cars, Andre Heimgartner again leading the charge.

“I think it will reward the teams that have really good engineering structure,” Heimgartner told V8 Sleuth of Gen3.

“Obviously T8 and the other big teams have some good engineering structures but I think we also do have quite a powerful engineering structure ourselves.

“So when we have everything brought back to zero, I think within reason we should have just as much as opportunity as the other teams to put forward a good car and get some good results.

“It’s not so much like the car now, because the car now you can change a lot of things, but the car that we’re getting, Gen3, obviously is going to be more generic amongst all of the teams so what you can do is very limited.

“It comes more down to the engineering side of it and the set-ups and the relationship between the driver and engineer so that’s what we have been working on a lot this year, just the in-house stuff.

“Phil Keed has helped with a lot of that, just trying to get yourself efficient and as well prepared as you can for that new need for the new car.”

Keed rejoined BJR at the start of this season after six years away from the Albury squad, during which he spent time at DJR Team Penske and Team 18.

A senior figure within the squad, he is race engineering Bryce Fullwood while rising star Tony Woodward is guiding Heimgartner’s #8.

Heimgartner believes the nature of the Gen3 cars will make for some similarities with Porsche Carrera Cup, a competition in which he was the 2017 runner-up.

“I think it will be similar to Carrera Cup in some ways but there still will be different ways to do things,” he explained.

“At the moment, it’s not just a set-up thing, it’s how you drive the car is a massive thing.

“So getting all of those things together, there’s so much on the driver’s side, working with the team and the set-up, everything coming together, it makes a big difference.

“We see the people that have the Triple Eight car that theoretically has all the same stuff in it but don’t get the results Shane (van Gisbergen) does, so it’s very much how the driver and the team works together to get the end result.”

Set back by a heavy Bathurst 1000 crash before he’d even turned a lap in the race himself, Heimgartner enters the upcoming Gold Coast 500 ninth in the championship.

Connor O’Brien joined V8 Sleuth in 2022 as website Editor. He won the Supercars Media Award in 2017 while working as a sports reporter at the Gold Coast Bulletin, before stints at Supercars and Speedcafe. During his time at V8 Sleuth he's twice (2022, 2023) been named Journalist of the Year at the Supercars Media Awards.