Welcome back to Race Chaser Online’s 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Preview! We continue our set of Wednesday previews with a look at Dick Johnson Racing.
Dick Johnson Racing
#16 – Scott Pye, Wilson Security Ford Falcon
#17 – David Wall, Wilson Security Ford Falcon
2013 TEAM POINTS FINISH: 8th
2013 HIGHLIGHT MOMENT: Chaz Mostert winning the finale at Queensland Raceway
What does life after Chaz Mostert hold for Dick Johnson Racing?
Mostert came to DJR in the middle of the season and immediately was a revelation — he scored six top-10 finishes and two podiums in his half season with the team, and recorded their first win since 2010 when he took the checkered flag in the final race at Queensland Raceway. However, Mostert was “farmed out” to the team from the leviathan operation of Ford Performance Racing, and when Will Davison departed for Erebus Motorsport at the end of 2013, FPR exercised their option to recall Mostert and put him in Davison’s old #6 Falcon for this upcoming season.
Mostert’s departure is undoubtedly a big blow for DJR, since his presence seemed to elevate the entire team in the second half of the season- even their other car, driven by Tim Blanchard, picked up two podiums in the second half of 2013. However, Mostert is gone, and DJR has been left to figure out how to cope with the loss.
Their answer? Let Blanchard go from his ride (which can be justified by a miserable start to 2013 before Mostert arrived, in which he finished no better than 15th in the first 23 races), and bring in two more young drivers, Scott Pye and David Wall. Pye and Wall come from Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and Britek Motorsport (the REC and “third car” for Brad Jones Racing) respectively.
Pye’s main calling card is a runner up finish (to current Valvoline Racing GRM driver Scott McLaughlin) in the 2012 Dunlop Development Series points standings for Triple 8 Race Engineering (the feeder team for Red Bull Racing Australia), while Wall came to the V8 Supercars Championship a season ago after strong runs in Australian GT racing.
Both struggled to find their feet in 2013- Pye was set back by a massive airborne crash at Symmons Plains which forced him to miss four races of the Championship while his car was all but rebuilt, and Wall finished no better than 7th throughout all of 2013 (in the Saturday race at the Gold Coast).
Looking at DJR’s 2013, their strongest rounds were at Queensland and Phillip Island — if they are to succeed in 2014, those are the two tracks that should again be their best. The new drivers are the only differences in their lineup for 2013 — everything else stays the same, and DJR will have more consistency than some of their surrounding peers. However, the issue for the team this season might not be what they have done so much as it might be what their competitors have done. The teams directly around them in 2013 are the two Nissan teams and Erebus Motorsport, both of whom have taken major swings in an effort to climb up the V8SC standings. Nissan, in particular, have factory support from Nissan — that means more money and support than DJR can claim with Ford.
Erebus will also be motivated to put in overtime work in an effort to overhaul their program from 2013. Fans should expect Dick Johnson Racing to perform at about the same level this season as they did a year ago, but if the Nissan teams and Erebus make the gains that they are envisioning, they might overtake DJR, and the end result for the Wilson Security cars might not be as strong this time around.
For more information on Dick Johnson Racing, visit http://www.djr.com.au/.