WHINCUP’S MAD DASH REBUILD
IT was the 12-hour rebuild that put Jamie Whincup back in the Adelaide 500 fight.
In a minor miracle that saved Whincup from disaster in the season-opening round, Red Bull Holden Racing Team (RBHT) fixed an estimated $100,000 worth of damage in an overnight rescue mission after the reigning champion hit a wall at 190km/h in qualifying on Friday.
Whincup initially did not think his car could be fixed following the hit, in a blow that would have ended his first-up championship battle with bitter rivals DJR Team Penske.
“It was an incredible effort,’’ said Whincup. “These guys are just amazing. I wasn’t sure the car could be saved.
“They worked throughout the night and I can’t thank them enough. It was my mistake, so I reckon I owe them a few cases of beer.’’
A crew of 30 worked until 4.15am yesterday to fix a twisted wreck and give Whincup a shot at Adelaide glory.
“We left the track about 4.15am,” said RBHRT team manager Mark Dutton. “We managed to send a lot of people home around midnight to 1am, then there was just the crew and a few extras here until we got it finished at 4.15am.’’
In an amazing recovery, Whincup was able to take part in yesterday’s 9.30am practice session with a Holden Commodore ZB as good as new.
“The repairs were fantastic,’’ Dutton said. “You never expect it to be that good, even when you’re just replacing bits for normal service without a shunt, it’s hard to be that close.
“We dropped it on and the toes were adjustable half-amil to a mil, so next to nothing.
The corner weights were within half-a-turn to being bang on. Even when you just change a damper set, the corner weights need a bit of a tweak, so that’s within a tolerance of the car being where it was before it hit the wall.
“It’s a really good repair, which is why we were there until 4am. We took our time, as painful as it was, to make sure it was as perfect as we could get it. Apart from where it needs a bit of paint where it’s been welded, if you stuck your head under there you wouldn’t be able to tell where it’s been repaired.”
Dutton estimated the repair cost over $100,000 in parts alone. And more.
“We had the time to replace things that didn’t need to be replaced,” he said.
“There were rockers, there were extra pieces of componentry ... even the right side didn’t have any visual damage, but we replaced everything just to be sure.
“When there’s such a whip on the other side, it can transfer through. The last thing we need is ‘we didn’t replace that because it should be fine’, when it would have taken 10 minutes to do.’’
The Holden Red Bull Racing crew revive Jamie Whincup’s car after Friday’s shunt.