Fabian Coulthard wants to make an instant splash in his new DJR Team Penske Falcon at the Clipsal 500, beginning the new V8 Supercars season with top-10 finishes.
The Kiwi makes his debut for the expanding cross-continental team around Adelaide’s streets this weekend after an off-season move from Brad Jones Racing.
If moving teams wasn’t enough, he’s also swapped his Commodore for a Falcon and his home state too, moving from Melbourne to the Gold Coast to be close to his new team base.
Months of upheaval will give way to a return to racing on Friday and despite the obstacles, Coulthard is aiming high.
“You do the best you can with the equipment you’ve got and we’ve got a lot of new guys,” he told AAP.
“Its going to take some learning for us to all gel as a group.
“If we can come away from the weekend with both cars in the top eight, that should be a pretty good start.”
In a highly-competitive field, it’s hard to know where to place DJR Team Penske.
The outfit struggled early last year, losing comeback champ Marcos Ambrose after struggling through the Clipsal 500 and handing the senior role to Scott Pye.
Pye found it tough to make an impact but broke through for six top-10 finishes in the final nine races including a Pukekohe podium.
In joining the team, Coulthard’s only constant might be holding on to engineer Phil Keed.
He’s not alone as one of 10 starting entries to have changed teams since the Sydney 500, with two new drivers also joining the series.
But he’s the only one to swap his Holden for a Ford and he said plenty of fans had let him know all about it.
“You do cop it,” he said.
“I’ve lost some red fans but gained a hell of a lot of blue fans.
“The following DJR Team Penske has is massive and I’ve been welcomed with open arms.”
Coulthard said the biggest change was his environments, and his new bosses.
“It’s a big change, going from a small family-run business to this awesome facility with two icons of motorsport,” he said.
“It’s pretty special to drive for Dick Johnson and Roger Penske.
“Roger will send me text messages and emails at random.
“He’s a racer and always interested to know what’s going on, what my thoughts are and how we can make the team better.
“Dick’s in at the workshop on most days, so it’s two great relationships.”