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HomeNewsNoble: DJR better placed than 12 months ago

Noble: DJR better placed than 12 months ago

THERE is no sense of panic about Dick Johnson Racing’s early slide down the live pitlane order, CEO David Noble has insisted.

Had Supercars retained use of the Albert Park pitlane, DJR would be occupying garages 21 and 22 of 24 at Round 2 later this month, following another subdued start to a season.

Only this time it’s not quite as bad as it looks.

While DJR was simply off the pace at the 2023 Newcastle season-opener, its Shell V-Power Mustangs at least were fast(ish) over a single lap at the Bathurst 500.

Anton De Pasquale made the Top 10 Shootout on both days and Will Davison joined him on the Sunday.

Performance in race trim lacked, but Davison was able to stave off a fast-finishing Richie Stanaway to record 10th in Race 2.

None of that has Noble jumping for joy.

DJR team principal Ryan Story did though note pre-Bathurst that the team’s off-season had been focused on duties as Ford’s homologation squad, with its responsibility heightened by taking over the Blue Oval’s control Supercars engine program.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time for us to get back to where we want to be and be consistently competitive and have two cars up there fighting for trophies week in, week out,” warned Story at the time.

“We’re not shying away from that challenge, but our priority first and foremost is to have competitive Fords on the grid.”

David Noble, Will Davison and Brett Ralph at the Bathurst 500. Pic: Nathan Wong

Speaking with V8 Sleuth after Round 1, Noble added: “We took that on with the knowledge that we knew it was going to be a long R&D program to understand, investigate, change things, challenge areas that we know we can make better for the category.”

However, Noble feels DJR is in a position where it now can leverage its lessons from the Mountain and make progress at the March 21-24 Australian Grand Prix.

“The restructure that we have done has allowed us to focus more on us, way more than this time last year,” he said.

“This time last year we were probably really chasing ourselves to get ourselves ready.

“We’re in a way better position this year, but obviously results would say still not to the point where you’d like to be.

“But internally we’re way more structured and organised in regards to the HT environment that we need to operate under and also the engine shop – they have got their independent staff that are there working at that shop and Ryan back onboard has given his focus to that.”

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