Penske Racing heavyweight Tim Cindric expects DJR Team Penske to establish itself as a top five player this year, after expanding to two cars in the V8 Supercars Championship in Australia.
Cindric was present at the team’s 2016 launch at Queensland Raceway last week, as the team unveiled Scott Pye and Fabian Coulthard’s Shell-sponsored Ford Falcon FG Xs ahead of the Clipsal 500.
Joining the category and merging with Dick Johnson Racing last year, Penske’s foray into V8 Supercars was not as smooth as hoped with the shock step-down from two-time champion, the returning Marcos Ambrose.
But the group’s ability to overcome the hurdle impressed Cindric, who spoke to v8supercars.com.au.
“I felt like in 2015, for sure it didn’t go as planned for obvious reasons, but the team [was able]to regroup with Scott there and to continue to put our goals in mind,” Cindric said.
“We’ve always said we’ve felt like there was a three year progression to get it right and we felt like in the first year our expectation was to, by the end of the year, feel like we were a top 10 team. And in that you’ll get some occasional top fives and fortunately we were able to achieve a podium,” he added.
Pye earned DJR Team Penske’s and his first V8 Supercars podium in New Zealand, two events after it was decided the group would expand to run two cars and offered Pye a permanent seat for 2016.
“For this year, to be able to expand to two cars was a late decision for us but one we felt was a really good one because it’s what we’re going to have to do to get to that level of championship contender,” Cindric explained.