Supercars return to Sydney with Jack Le Brocq in the No.55 Tickford Mustang
July 02, 2020
As racing resumed for the Supercars series at Sydney Motorsport Park, it was under very different conditions post the COVID 19 lockdowns experienced around the world. With social distancing and new working conditions, the Championship got back underway with no spectators and smaller crews meaning changes to the racing format. This meant less team members working on the cars during pitstops and a changing of the tyre strategy based on the new conditions which were bound to mix up the field. Refuelling and data telemetry were also removed to meet the new rules meaning teams had to come up with lots of new strategies and work arounds for the weekend.
With the opening round in Adelaide more than four months ago the new No.55 Tickford Driver Jack Le Brocq felt lessons from those first initial days of running would hold him in good stead for this weekend and offer a chance to catch up to his Tickford team mates. The No.55 will also now have Tickford’s head of engineering Brad Wischusen move into the role of Le Brocq’s race engineer for the Sydney SuperSprint. Le Brocq knows he’s still on a learning curve at Tickford “There’s definitely a lot I still need to learn, which has already been shown in the first couple of rounds at Tickford,” he said. The amount of knowledge that they’ve tried to pump into me just in that small period of time has been unreal.”
The weekend’s action started with a packed Saturday at the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint. With two practice sessions, qualifying, a Top 15 Shootout, and a 32-lap race over the course of six hours. Jack qualified the No.55 SCA Mustang in 17th with a 1m29.08 lap which was not an ideal starting position for race 7 of the Championship. The race didn’t improve with clutch issues off the starting line causing the engine to stall, Jack summed up his thoughts “Tough day today, we missed the mark with set up for qualifying and then decided not to make a second run in Q2 to save a set of tyres and we got bumped out of the Shootout. Then before the race we had a clutch issue so the car was stalled before the lights even went out, finally got it going again by jamming it in first gear without the clutch, that was rad. Once I got going the car was solid but we were playing catch up and could only get 19th out of it. A frustrating way to get back to it but we’ve got two more cracks tomorrow to try and end the weekend happy.” Sunday saw a much-improved form for Le Brocq with practice and qualifying going well yielding a season-best 8th place starting
position for the first race of the day and a 12th place starting position for the final race of the weekend. Race 8 the Tickford team struggled to get the new tyre strategy requirements correct, and they dropped 6 places in the race to finish 14th. Come Race 9 things improved with Jack having a relatively uneventful afternoon starting from 12th and finishing in 11th. Jack was positive post-race and said; “It was all right today, we had a good qualifying this morning and improved the Supercheap Auto Mustang. Unfortunately, our strategy wasn’t the best in the second race but we learnt from that and moved forward in the third race, and had good car speed which is promising. I’m still learning every session in the car and we’re making progress, so I’m looking forward to Winton, but it was just good to be back, feeling g-forces again, and banging wheels with everyone again.”
Team Principal Tim Edwards provided his thoughts to the weekend, “We had some mixed results across the day, but the racing was great with all the different tyre strategies, so it was about the best weekend we could ask for as a category. We have some things to improve on as a team, but it was a great way to restart our season, and we’ll be keen to build on that at Winton in a few weeks.”
Leaving Sydney Jack sits 14th in the Championship standings and prepares to head to a recently upgraded Winton Raceway on the 18th – 19th of July for the next round of the Virgin Australian Championship.