Team CoolDrive Macauley Jones 2019 Round-Up
31 Dec, 2019
I crossed the ditch arriving in New Zealand for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint – our only international race on the calendar.
The first time I raced here in the VASC. Day one was a tough day on track with practice one getting rained out, the team and I opting to save on tyres staying in the garage for the session.
I was focused on getting comfortable in the car and around this wild Pukekohe circuit before I headed into Qualifying. The sun shone in the afternoon making it a dry track for Race 23 where I started in P21. Mark Winterbottom bought out the Safety Car and we utilised this time to pit. A small error on my behalf with speeding in Pit Lane resulted in a 15 second time penalty. I crossed the line in P20.
Race 24 was tough. David Reynolds bringing out the Safety Car but unfortunately picking up the wrong leader when it was deployed. This caused me to be one lap down and ultimately ruining my race from here on in, finishing in P22.
After all the hours put in with testing and preparation, the biggest race of the year had finally arrived – The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. I had a great co-driver with Dean Canto racing for Team CoolDrive with me.
After a delayed start the Safety Car was out on lap one after an incident involving teammate Tim Slade in Car 14 who hit the wall 5 corners into the race. I started the 1000km race and got a great start, settling into my rhythm.
The team had been hoping for a second safety car to get back on to the lead lap but while there were safety cars aplenty as the race progressed, I, unfortunately, remained a lap down. We were also impacted when Fabian Coulthard held up a multitude of cars behind him so he wouldn't have to double stack in pit lane behind his teammate. This led to a penalty for Coulthard but more importantly time lost for us.
A race to the finish with 20 laps to go and all cars needing to fuel save to make it to the finish line. Dean and I eventually finished the Great Race in P17.
It was a hot start to the first day of racing at the Gold Coast 600 with the usual combination of blue skies and track-side heat. Dean got Saturday’s 300km race underway. Running into a few issues with a plastic bag getting caught and covering the radiator making temperatures rise in the car. Dean and I showed strong pace and crossed the line in P19, however, due to overnight penalties, got bumped up the grid into P17. Winning!
Sunday was a tough one, hitting some trouble on lap one, after running into a multi-car pileup. With nowhere to go, the front of the car was extensively damaged, which impacted the car’s straight-line speed for the rest of the race. Finishing in P15 which was a tremendous effort by the whole team.
On to Retro Round, and getting to race in the OzEmail livery was epic. Unfortunately, we had some issues on track at our first pitstop with the door failing to shut, forcing the crew to opt for makeshift repairs. Despite those efforts initially succeeding, the door jarred opened again meaning it was forced in again for secondary repairs. It just wasn’t our day with the bad luck continuing, a rear suspension component failure slowed the car and we finished in 21st.
The Enduro season was a hard one this year with a lot of different things for us to overcome. It’s been awesome having Dean a part of the team. He’s a great bloke and has been helpful throughout the last couple of months. The team has been awesome and have been working so hard with these back to back rounds to ensure we have a great car. Thanks so much to all my crew and all the support from CoolDrive for this round. It’s been special to me being able to race in dad’s number so thanks to the Blanchards for letting this happen. The livery looked sick!”
We headed to Newcastle for the final round of the season. On Sunday’s race, a Safety Car was deployed early in the race and the team chose to pit. Unfortunately, it didn’t go to plan, with a split in the fuel hose delaying my stop and pushed me to the back of the grid. The car felt great and I was able to punch out lap times as fast as the guys upfront. Unfortunately, the bad luck continued in the second pitstop after a front left-hand side-wheel nut got stuck.
It was a race that could have delivered so much more as we crossed the line in 22nd for the final race of the season.
It’s been one hell of a season and I’m so proud of the team for all their hard work. We finished up 21st in the 2019 Championship. We had some ups and downs, but I feel so much stronger moving forward. I have learnt so much throughout the year and I can’t wait to hit the ground running in 2020. We are all so much stronger as a team and I’m ready to go bigger and better in the new year.
Thank you to the fans for all your support, on and off track. The messages and comments do not go unnoticed and I appreciate it. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New year. Enjoy this time with loved ones.
I’ll see you all in 2020, bring on the new year!