Tim Blanchard’s career as a Supercars disciplinarian fell abbreviate of expectations.
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That’s not to say he’s ashamed himself aback abutting the series. Or alike that he hasn’t adapted to be on the filigree for the bristles seasons he’s spent as a full-timer.
However, the actuality that he walks away from his full-time career best-known as a backmarker who has survived alone on ancestors abetment speaks volume.
It’s an accessible cessation to reach. From a career that appropriately started aback in 2012 he’s alone accomplished in the top 10 on bristles occasions, and alone alert in single-driver races. He’s not already able in the top 10, a brace of elevenths, four years apart, his best single-lap efforts.
And, for the accomplished four seasons, the primary advocate on his car has been CoolDrive, the Blanchard ancestors business.
Damning stats, sure. But additionally not cogitating of the ablaze adolescent aptitude that starred in Formula Ford both home and abroad, and came into Supercars advised added than able of accomplishment a pukka career.
Blanchard’s pre-Supercars CV makes appropriate reading. He was an Australian Appellation champ in karts, afore branch to accompaniment and again national-level Formula Ford.
In 2007 he won the Australian Formula Ford Championship, advanced of guys like James Moffat and Nick Percat, now both Supercars chase winners.
The afterward division he took off to the UK to accouterment a British Formula Ford Championship that was still at that point somewhat competitive. He and Wayne Boyd bedeviled the season, Blanchard finishing up additional for the year afore finishing third at the Festival at Brands Hatch.
Blanchard fabricated his Supercars capital bold admission at Phillip Island in 2010
Photo by: John Maricic
With British F3 affairs scuppered due to a abridgement of budget, Blanchard headed aback to Australia. Those money woes led to a year on the sidelines in 2009, afore he confused into the second-tier Super2 alternation the afterward year. He accomplished additional in his amateur division and abutting a account of Mike Kable Adolescent Gun Award winners that includes the brand of Marcos Ambrose, Mark Winterbottom, and James Courtney.
Things were attractive good.
“I got to a assertive akin appealing bound in a Supercar in my aboriginal year in Super2,” explains Blanchard.
“But already I was calmly in that top three or four in Super2, I acquainted the advance and advance slowed down.
“There were a cardinal of issues alike then. We were actual bound on budget. That aboriginal year, I’d spent a year out of racing. I was abounding of confidence, aggregate had gone able-bodied in the UK, and again I didn’t sit in a racecar for 12 months.
“At that date of your development, that hurts…”
He still did added than abundant to acquire advance to the capital game, firstly at the aback end of 2012 with Kelly Antagonism afore a boxy admission abounding division with Dick Johnson Racing, which yielded a average 26th in the points.
Blanchard again stepped aback to a co-driver role with minnow band LD Motorsport, afore abiding as a full-timer with LDM in 2015 with a career-best 21st in the season-end standings.
His abutting move was to the third Brad Jones Antagonism car for three seasons, alike affairs a Antagonism Entitlements Contract to affirm that access afore the 2017 season. However he still never climbed college than 22nd in the points.
This year he absitively abundant is enough. In October he accepted he’ll footfall aback from full-time driving, opting to apply on active CoolDrive and managing the REC that will abide to run out of the BJR garage.
Given the affiance he showed in aggregate he collection afore Supercars, the accessible catechism is this: why did Blanchard abide such an underwhelming career at the top of Aussie motorsport?
“I assumption there are a cardinal of reasons,” explains Blanchard.
“Firstly, Supercars is an acutely boxy series. There’s about cipher there who hasn’t won through the inferior categories. So it’s not like I’m accepting baffled by bodies who ran about in 10th in Formula Ford. Anybody at this akin has won before, we all appear in with a agnate pedigree. That’s the aboriginal factor.
“The additional one is that I didn’t appear in to the best environment. Things were actual boxy at DJR, and at LDM it wasn’t any better. At BJR it’s been an advance on that, but my aplomb took such a belting over the aboriginal few years that by the time I got about I was blessed with, I was so demoralised.
“When you brace that with the akin of competition, with how anybody is on top of what they’re doing, it’s difficult to get aback on a akin pegging with anybody else.
“A third affair is that I’ve struggled with the active address appropriate for these cars. My active address apparel a lighter car, an open-wheeler. I like adherence on access and accelerated flow. Some of my best after-effects accept been at places like Sandown and Pukekohe, Sydney Motorsport Park, Darwin, the advance breadth it’s fast and flowing. I can drive the car a bit added the way apparel me.
“When I get to places like Adelaide, Townsville, alike Queensland Raceway breadth it’s actual heavily focussed on braking and circling of the car, that’s breadth I struggle.
“The breadth of your active that you charge to be acceptable at to accomplish a Supercar fast is my weakness as a driver. I feel like that if we all raced Porsches or article like that, we’d be accepting a altered chat appropriate now.”
The advertence to disturbing at DJR may assume odd in a abreast context, but it’s important to bethink that we’re not talking about the DJR Team Penske megateam that won this year’s Supercars title.
It was a band at its everyman ebb aback Blanchard joined, not at all accessory to a amateur attractive to accomplish his mark. Sure, Chaz Mostert enjoyed added success beyond the added ancillary of the DJR barn that aforementioned year, but he was on accommodation from what was again accepted as Ford Performance Racing, and had the abstruse abetment to boot.
“If you attending at bodies like Chaz or Anton [De Pasquale], they came into Supercars in a acceptable environment,” he says.
“They were accomplished all the way through Super2, again they went into a admiring ambiance in a reasonable car in Supercars. It helps that’s transition. They were able to focus on what they were doing.
“I feel like I had a lot of added distractions, like alive with the ancestors business.
“Plus there was aggregate that was activity on with DJR; I rocked up to every blow apprehensive if there was alike activity to be a car there. I went to my aboriginal Adelaide 500 as a DJR disciplinarian and we were cloudburst the bench on the Thursday.
“Most rookies accept done tests canicule by then, and we were still bolting the car calm an hour afore convenance started.”
Blanchard’s amateur full-time division came in 2013 with a disturbing DJR outfit.
Photo by: Circuit of the Americas
The abridgement of results, akin with the CoolDrive abetment and the REC ownership, accept anon led to Blanchard actuality affianced as a pay driver.
Blanchard understands how it happened, and argues the business case to accouterment his own abetment has consistently fabricated affluence of sense.
However, it’s still a aching tag to backpack through your career.
“I didn’t get into Supercars as a pay driver, I becoming my seat,” he says.
“It didn’t actually assignment out for me, but I still anticipate I didn’t acreage a bench by accident. I adapted to be actuality and to accept a able at it. There wouldn’t be abounding bodies that accept a bigger CV advancing into Supercars. I did abundant to accept a go.
“Over the aftermost brace of years it’s been the ancestors business on the doors of the car, but it’s been a acknowledged business programme for the business. So if you’re allotment a car, and it’s accouterment a acceptable acknowledgment to the business, it’d be brainless to sponsor addition else’s car aback I’m antagonism in the series.
“I’d rather ascendancy the business platform. I accept our business, our customers, and what we charge out of the advocacy bigger than anyone else.
“I’ve got that pay disciplinarian label, appropriately or not, and that’s the absoluteness of it. I’d adopt not to accept the label, but the advocacy fabricated faculty for the business.”
As we’ve already covered, Blanchard didn’t abasement himself in Supercars. In a ridiculously aggressive acreage he’s captivated his own, his ‘struggles’ actuality that he’s been on the amiss ancillary of a few tenths per lap, not a few seconds.
He additionally could accept accustomed up years ago and gone bays hunting in Carrera Cup or Australian GT. However Blanchard says he’d rather accept slogged about abreast the aback of the best acreage in Australia, that accepting fabricated it a advantageous career admitting the abridgement of after-effects and the aspersing accessible perception.
“I adore active a car, sure, but it’s the antagonism ancillary of motorsport that I actually love,” he says.
“The added I went, the added I enjoyed it because the antagonism got tougher and tougher. The acumen I’m beneath absorbed in Porsches or GT is because the affair I adulation about Supercars is that akin of competition, and you won’t get that anywhere else.
“I appetite to chase adjoin the best guys and analyze myself to the Jamie Whincups of the world, and you don’t get that anywhere abroad in Australia.
“I actually enjoyed arduous myself week-in, week-out. I that respect, I enjoyed every bit of it.”
Photo by: LAT Images
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