Welcome back to Race Chaser Online’s 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Preview! We continue our run through the series with a look at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport
DRIVER: #23 – Russell Ingall, Repair Management Australia Holden Commodore VF
2013 TEAM POINTS FINISH: 10th
2013 HIGHLIGHT MOMENT: Scott Pye’s 6th-place finish at Bathurst
Old habits dying hard? That NEVER happens in racing. And the desire to race doesn’t go easily for the best drivers in racing series around the world. The examples of these kinds of driver range from Formula One’s Michael Schumacher to NASCAR’s Mark Martin. Now the V8 Supercars Championship has their own example of this kind of driver — Russell Ingall.
Ingall, the 2005 V8SC series champion, announced that he would retire at the end of 2013. He departed his Walkinshaw Racing team as planned, but decided in the offseason that he didn’t quite want to hang up his steering wheel, so he signed a deal with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport to run one of their Holden Commodores for 2014 with support from new sponsor Repair Management Australia.
While Ingall’s old team has expanded for 2014, his new team has contracted to a one-car operation for the upcoming season. Gone are drivers Dean Fiore and Scott Pye, along with primary sponsors Dodo Insurance and Ekol Finance. Technically, Ingall will be driving Fiore’s old Commodore, but the car and crew are the only two holdovers from 2013.
There is no question that Ingall has the ability to wheel a V8 Supercar around a race track. He earned his nickname “The Enforcer” during his heyday in the mid-2000s for his aggressive driving nature and his ability to take control of a race like no other driver on the circuit. Nor is their any question about his staying power (he currently has more starts than any other driver in V8 Supercars history). The question is: what he can do with a car that historically has not been one of the strongest in the V8 Supercars Championship?
For what it is worth, LDM’s largest amount of TV time in the whole of the 2013 season came when driver Dean Fiore nearly flipped his Dodo Insurance Commodore in the massive crash at Hidden Valley Raceway. Of the seven cars that were taken out on the first-lap incident of the weekend’s final race, his car was the one that the replay cameras kept coming back to. That single moment gives one an idea of how LDM’s 2013 season went. Although Pye finished sixth at Bathurst, and Fiore finished 9th in the second race at Symmonds Plains, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport did not record another finish inside the top 10 for the rest of the season.
Ingall’s challenge, then, will be similar to the one he took on when he joined Walkinshaw racing two years ago — take a team with a history of running at the back of the V8 Supercars field, and turn in some respectable performances. To his credit, Ingall (by and large) did just that with his old Supercheap Auto Commodore — at the very least, he made the team look good enough that Tim Slade thought it would be worth it to make the move to Walkinshaw. Given the kinds of rides that Slade has had in the past (in particular, Slade’s time with Stone Brothers Racing) , that is a significant accomplishment for “The Enforcer”.
Also, with his proven track record with this kind of project, expect Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport to have a better 2014 with a man like Ingall behind the wheel. The LDR cars are about on the same level of performance with the Walkinshaw machines, so this should be seen by race fans as a “horizontal” move for Ingall. Likewise, fans should expect the Enforcer to turn in similar numbers behind the wheel of his new #23. Most often, Ingall will be in mid-pack, but there will be a few weekends over the course of the season where he surprises the V8SC community with some strong finishes. There might even be another podium finish in Ingall to top it all off.
He might not be at the front of the field like he once was, but even at the ripe old age of 50 Russell Ingall still has the ability to take an underperforming car and earn a finish above the ability of the car that he is driving. And even at the ripe old age of 50, that still might make Russell Ingall one of the very best drivers on the V8 Supercars circuit.
For more information on Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, visit http://www.ldmotorsport.com.au/.