The Shell V-Power Racing engineers are yet to understand fully on how the pole-sitting Shell V-Power Ford suddenly lost engine power during yesterday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
His 2m03s.8 lap was compared to his fellow Kiwi and racing hero Greg Murphy’s 2003 shootout lap that became known as the “Lap of the Gods”.
Despite starting from the pole position, the former series leader McLaughlin didn’t have the race go his way. He lost the lead early after a lap two error which cost six positions, after just 25 laps before handing over his car to French co-driver Alex Premat.
During Premat’s stint, the Shell V-Power Ford’s engine started losing power. The team tried everything to rectify the problem while keeping the #17 car on the lead lap. But on lap 75 it gave up altogether heading up the mountain, ending McLaughlin’s dreams of winning.
It was until lap 75 when the #17 Mostech-built engine gave up altogether heading up the mountain, at the Cutting, ending McLaughlin’s dreams of winning the iconic race.
But the engine problems for title rival Jamie Whincup lessen the championship blow for the driver of the famous 17.
Speaking to top broadcaster Greg Rust after the race, McLaughlin’s race engineer Ludo Lacroix is still yet to understand what went so wrong with the engine to lose power so quickly and end their race.
“No, it was the engine,” Lacroix laughed as he revealed what retired the car.
“I believe it’s something in the valve, cause when we put the fuel in it doesn’t burn […] we tried a few things, it wasn’t a fuel issue. We weren’t burning the fuel correctly.”
As a good sport like Ludo Lacroix is, he puts down the highest of high on Saturday to a big low on Sunday down to life in motor racing.
“It’s life, it’s motor racing,” he continued. “What’s important sometimes, is we have pace and that’s what matters. We just have to keep the pace we got, the other guys aren’t making it easy.”
DJR Team Penske was dreadful last year at the Gold Coast, even had to rebuild Coulthard’s car Saturday night, but Ludo Lacroix remains confident that the team will bounce back from Bathurst and be up front at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 in two weeks.