Coulthard’s retention marks the beginning of the DJR Team Penske dynasty

Jawad Yaqub Roar Guru

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    ‘Why change a winning formula?’ was the question, while it was pondered what the latest Supercars powerhouse team in DJR Team Penske would do with Fabian Coulthard, following the expiration of his contract at the end of 2017.

    Indeed, the successful combination of Coulthard and his Kiwi compatriot Scott McLaughlin will continue into 2018, with the championship leader inking a new deal with the dominant Ford outfit.

    “We’re delighted with the efforts of both Fabian and Scott and the results to date for Shell V-Power Racing Team,” said the team’s managing director in Ryan Story.

    “Effort equals results, and stability will only make us stronger as a team.”

    The news of the Kiwi’s retention by the Queensland-based squad marks the start of what could be a dynasty for DJR Team Penske, taking the mantle from their Holden rivals in Triple Eight – who have had a stranglehold on Supercars for more than a decade.

    Coulthard has convincingly proven in his sophomore season at DJR Team Penske, that he is indeed capable of being a genuine title contender. Initially with the signing of young-gun McLaughlin for 2017, there was consensus that the elder-Kiwi would be shaded by his junior.

    That however, has not been the case, as proven by the 34-year-old’s consistent results to keep him atop the standings – which he’s been the leader of since the third round of the series at Phillip Island.

    Young McLaughlin, following the most recent event in Darwin, finds himself 10-points adrift of his teammate, having won four races to Coulthard’s three. The 24-year-old also heads his compatriot in the pole position tally, with six to two.

    Marcos Ambrose in his comeback to V8s

    (Photo: DJR Team Penske)

    Intriguing as the intra-team rivalry is for the championship, it is important to consider the strong dynamic between the two drivers and the elite group of engineers put together by the team. Well documented it is, the appointment of Ludo Lacroix over the off-season from rivals Triple Eight, while the long-standing partnership between Coulthard and Phil Keed continues to pay dividends.

    Having that core group as strong as it is currently, along with the support of heavyweights Roger Penske, his deputy Tim Cindric and the legendary Dick Johnson, it is impossible not to draw comparisons to some of the great teams in contemporary motorsport – such as Mercedes AMG in Formula One, or Triple Eight Race Engineering.

    Triple Eight have long proved that their success is down to consistency and having the best of the best. Prior to Shane van Gisbergen’s arrival in 2016, the duo of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes had contributed to seven teams’ championship wins – with key engineers Mark Dutton, Jeromy Moore and David Cauchi on hand, along with team boss Roland Dane and his former right-hand man in Lacroix.

    DJR Team Penske have indeed concocted their own formula to establish their own dominion over the Supercars championship. Their retention of Coulthard highlights the importance of consistency in their team, but overall shows that this partnership can easily span multiple years.

    The question remains now of when, not if, will this Supercars super-team will yield championships and victories at the hallowed Bathurst 1000 once again.