Captain's Corner: Fabian Coulthard excited after strong Clipsal 500

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Captain's Corner: Fabian Coulthard excited after strong Clipsal 500
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Mar 23, 2017, 10:41 PM

The next installment of a weekly series with members from Team Penske.

Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Podium: second place Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford

As part of Motorsport.com’s content partnership with Team Penske, we will provide fans with exclusive content each week from the organization’s drivers, crew members and staff to readers throughout the 2017 season. This week, Fabian Coulthard, driver of the No. 12 Ford FG X Falcon for DJR Team Penske in the Virgin Australia Supercars Series, offers a first-person account of the start of his 2017 season.

It was a very strong start for Shell V-Power Racing Team at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide earlier this month. Both Scott McLaughlin and I had good car speed all weekend, and were rewarded with a podium finish in each of the weekend’s 250km races, which was nice after the team’s hard work over the Christmas period.

I’ve come out of the weekend sitting second in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship standings, with the team second in the Teams’ points. If you’d told me before the first race that I’d leave sitting in that position I’d have been very happy with it, and I’m excited for the year ahead.

Starting the season strongly is so important, as if you get away to a slow start you spend much of the season playing catch-up to the leaders, which is a much harder proposition than running consistently at the front.

The team has a great vibe about it in 2017. We’ve recruited well in the off-season, with some new key members of our engineering team coming onboard, and of course Scotty as my teammate in the No.17 Shell V-Power Ford.

Our cars are now very different to how they felt last year, with a lot of new parts having been developed and installed across the off-season. My No.12 Shell V-Power Ford is a very different beast this year, and I’m enjoying the changes.

Coming into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix we’re continuing to develop the cars, with even more new parts coming online over the last couple of weeks. With this weekend’s races being non-championship, it gives us a good opportunity to try some things without a major fear of damaging our championship position.

That’s not to say we won’t be pushing hard. Racing in front of the Formula 1 Paddock is very cool, and our partnership with Shell now sees us aligned with the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Team which is also very special.

We have four races this weekend, each one running 13 laps around the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit. They’re short, sharp races and qualifying up the front is important. It’s a long-ish track for us at 5.3km, with a lap time just under two minutes.

It’s quite a different format to what we’re used to, compared with our longer 200-plus km races at our other events. It makes for quite a relaxed atmosphere here in Melbourne this weekend, as we don’t have a massive amount of on-track time, with two races on Friday and one each on Saturday and Sunday.

We have plenty to do off-track, though, with lots of appearances for our corporate partners. Shell is at the Grand Prix with hundreds of guests so we’re working very closely with them and Ferrari across the weekend, which is good fun.

Whilst there’s no points on offer, it’s still a matter of pride to perform on the biggest motorsport stage in the world, and we’re aiming for nothing less than race wins this weekend.

I was fortunate enough to have a good, consistent run here last year that saw me get onto the podium at the end of the weekend and I’m aiming to go a couple of spots better this time around.

It will also be great to check out the new Formula 1 cars this weekend, and see if Ferrari and Red Bull can break the dominance of the Mercedes team.

Whatever happens, one thing we can guarantee – it will be a great weekend of racing all round!

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About this article

Series Supercars
Drivers Fabian Coulthard
Teams Team Penske
Author Jim Utter