NUNAWADING, Victoria, Australia – Welcome back to Race Chaser Online’s 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season previews! We continue today with a look at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport
DRIVERS: No. 62 – Alex Rullo, Castrol Holden Commodore VF
No. TBA – TBA
2016 TEAM POINTS FINISH: 12th
2016 HIGHEST RACE FINISH: A victory in the finale at the Clipsal 500
A home for young drivers looking to establish themselves in the series – that is what Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport blossomed into in 2016, and will continue to grow into in 2017.
Last year, the team was home to two of the youngest drivers in the series: Andre Heimgartner and Nick Percat, just 21 and 28 years of age, respectively. Heimgartner came over from Super Black Racing, while Percat returned with LDM for a third consecutive season.
Though Heimgartner struggled throughout the season, Percat showed to the Supercars community what many who have been following him have known for a long time: that he is one of the most talented young drivers in the series.
Percat put himself on the radar of the Supercars world when he co-drove with Garth Tander to a victory in the 2011 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. It was that drive, combined with strong performances in the Porsche Carrera Cup, that earned him a full-time ride in the main game and led him eventually to LDM.
Last year, in his second season with the team, he started off in the most incredible of ways: with a massive upset victory in the Sunday finale at the Clipsal 500. It was the most significant moment in the history of the team.
Percat followed that up with two strong performances in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, where he finished ninth at Sandown and returned to the Bathurst podium with a third-place finish. By that point, he had run well enough that larger teams began to come calling.
Percat accepted an offer to go drive for Brad Jones Racing and will drive Jason Bright’s old BOC Holden Commodore in 2017. He might not be with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport now, but what Percat did in his time with the team sets the standard for what they want to accomplish.
Though underfunded and undermanned compared to most of the teams on the grid, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport knows that their equipment is strong enough to give young drivers a chance to prove that they belong in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
For 2017, they have doubled down on that line of thinking, bringing in 16-year-old Alex Rullo to drive. When he takes the green flag at Clipsal, Rullo will become the youngest driver to ever compete in a Supercars event.
But for both Rullo and Dumbrell, age is insignificant. What matters is the racing CV that Rullo has already compiled: multiple championships in his home state of Western Australia, multiple victories in the V8 Touring Car Series in 2015, and a season in the Dunlop Series under Percat’s tutelage.
The team will also field another car in 2017, though that driver has yet to be determined. Matt Chahda was Dumbrell’s initial pick, but was denied the necessary license needed to compete in Supercars from the governing body of Australian motorsport.
Despite that setback, LDM knows that it at least has Rullo to campaign with at the moment. Their hope is that he can become the youngest driver to podium and win in the history of Supercars – and prove, just like Percat did, that he is worthy of competing in the main game.
For more information on Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, visit www.ldmotorsport.com.au.
For more information on the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, visit www.supercars.com.
About the Writer
James Pike is a multi-faceted reporter for Race Chaser Online and an analyst on the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
He is the lead correspondent for Race Chaser Online’s coverage of Australian Supercars and also covers regional touring series events in the Carolinas. He is a graduate of the Motorsports Management program at Belmont Abbey College and currently resides in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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