Q&A WITH THE FIRST ISUZU SUPERCAR EXPERIENCE WINNER
Sydney-based truck technician David Clarke became the first Isuzu Trucks tech to join the Walkinshaw Andretti United V8 supercar pit crew as part of an exciting new collaboration between the racing team and sponsors Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL).
David, from the Gilbert and Roach Isuzu dealership in Huntingwood, is the first of five truck techs who won the chance to get down and dirty with the pit crew during this year’s Repco Supercars Championship.
He joined the team last weekend at the Darwin Triple Crown race event at the Hidden Valley Raceway in the Northern Territory, coinciding with a history-making event in Australian motorsport.
The Hidden Valley round marked the first ever official Indigenous Round of racing in the Repco Supercars Championship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork and livery applied across all cars in a landmark moment for the sport.
After coming in 8th place in the first round, Walkinshaw Andretti’s Chaz Mostert won the second race, Race 18 of this year’s circuit.
We caught up with David after his experience behind the team curtain.
David, your ears must still be ringing from the weekend, how was it?
I can honestly say it was something I’ll never forget in my entire life.
I feel lucky to have been chosen from so many great technicians. It was a very special weekend for so many different reasons.
How did the pit work compare to your daily job?
It’s a completely different set of skills.
What they do, the dedication to their craft, the precision and the teamwork, it really blew me away to be honest. I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for pit crews but seeing it up close was another thing altogether.
I think that it’s a great initiative to send Isuzu technicians to a racing event like this, I like to think I’m someone who can appreciate what these crews are doing.
Everything down to the smallest detail was carefully considered, practiced, and executed perfectly. Their dedication, the planning and work involved was pretty impressive.
Is there anything behind the scenes that might surprise people?
Just because of the value of the cars and how perfectly engineered they are, everything is an involved process.
Even rolling them from point A to B is an event, getting them on to the track is a process, even polishing the cars up for the cameras.
The equipment used is like nothing you’ve ever seen, top of the range and so highly specialised in every way. I was absolutely in my element just having a look around the workshop!
The tools are of the absolute highest calibre, and it was an incredible thing to see them in the hands of experts.
How did the team fare in the end?
*Laughs* Well, they had their ups and downs. The first night, they were disqualified for cooling the engine at the wrong time, but they were able to appeal it. I think that probably set the mood for the second race, everyone was feeling a little off and that showed in the results. The third race though, all the drama seemed to have really lit a fire under the team and they had an incredible night and finished first. It was so good to see a podium finish like that — absolutely unforgettable.
Do you have any words of advice for the other technicians who will be doing the same thing?
Just to enjoy it, try to be as helpful as possible and take everything in and remember it.
Any final words?
Just a big thanks to the team at Isuzu Australia for making this happen and to Gilbert and Roach Huntingwood for opening-up this sort of opportunity – it’s been amazing. Thanks also to the Walkinshaw Andretti team for making me feel welcome and for putting on an experience I won’t forget for a very long time.
The following Isuzu Trucks technicians have been successful in winning a position on the Walkinshaw Andretti United team over the coming race rounds…
- Jackson Cooper from Sunshine Coast Isuzu
- Trae Pollard from Southwest Isuzu
- Josh Mortimer from Northern Rivers Isuzu
- Cooper Bullin from Road Runner Mechanical Services