STORY: WILL DALE
IMAGE: AN1 IMAGES (DIRK KLYNSMITH)
JACK Smith will move into Brad Jones Racing’s newest car for his final Supercars wildcard appearance of the 2019 season.
Smith will pilot BJR 011 at this month’s OTR SuperSprint, the Holden Commodore ZB which started the season as Tim Slade’s Freightliner Racing car.
It follows a bruising weekend for the team at Hidden Valley in June, where all three cars sustained heavy damage.
While Nick Percat and Macauley Jones’ cars were repaired for the Watpac Townsville 400, Slade moved into the car which had been used for Smith’s previous wildcard appearances this year.
Slade continued to race the car at Queensland Raceway in July and will remain in that car for The Bend.
With the team expanding to four main game cars for the first time since Darwin, BJR has completed the repairs to Slade’s original car, which will become the #4 SCT Logistics car.
“It’s all fixed,” Jones told V8 Sleuth.
“It’s all been put on a jig and sorted out, it’s straight, and Jack’s going to use it at The Bend.”
BJR 011 is the most recent Car of the Future chassis built by BJR, one of the two brand-new ZB Commodores constructed over the 2017-18 summer by the team.
The car turned its first laps at Phillip Island on a shakedown run, before Slade topped the 2018 pre-season tyre test at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Coincidentally, the inaugural visit to The Bend saw Slade post one of his best runs last year, qualifying a season-high third for the Sunday race before racing to fourth place.
Slade claimed a podium finish in 011 at Albert Park earlier this year, before being damage on the opening lap of the Saturday race in Darwin.
The chassis Slade moved, 006, into is actually the oldest in BJR’s current main game fleet.
The car was built new as a VF Commodore for the 2016 season, becoming Jason Bright’s mount in his final season with the team before passing to new recruit Nick Percat, who raced the car for the entire 2017 season.
Retained as a spare last year, BJR converted the car to ZB panelwork for Smith to use in his three wildcard appearances in 2019 so far at Symmons Plains, Winton and Hidden Valley, as well as Tim Blanchard’s Petronas-backed cameo at the Perth SuperNight.
It has been a busy year on the repair front for the Albury-based team.
It benched one chassis “indefinitely” after the Superloop Adelaide 500, when a brake failure pitched Macauley Jones into a hard crash during Saturday morning’s practice session.
The car was repaired in time for Jones to make his full-time Supercars race debut on Sunday but a closer inspection after the event revealed more extensive damage, prompting the team to move him into BJR 007 for the rounds since.