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JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Suzuka International Racing Course. 24 September 2019
January 18, 2016

 

As preparations for the 2016 Career Ladder season are well and truly in full swing, Australian Supercup outfit Streetfighter Racing Systems look back on their roller-coaster 2015 campaign.

It was definitely a year of two halves for the Australian outfit, as they looked to build on a solid campaign in 2014 which featured the first pole, podium and fastest lap for the team courtesy of the Dutchman Douwe Tapper. Going into the season they had managed to retain their 2014 driver lineup, however team principal William Tringas found himself on the hunt for a new driver to fill the 68 car a mere 2 weeks before the season start. Today we talk to William and Douwe about their 2015 campaign

William Tringas:
"It was a struggle to find a quality replacement with so little time and so I took the decision to focus on Douwe in the 67 car to try and maximize his results and achieve the goals we had set for the season. But I must thank Scott Bennett once more for stepping into the car with such little notice and bringing it home in Melbourne."

After a solid 10th place for Tapper in the season opening Feature Race, a failed strategic gamble set the tone for what was to come in the opening half of the season.

Douwe Tapper:
"If I look at my 2015 season, I can honestly say that I've had better overall seasons, but looking at the last half of the season I really can't complain. Let's begin at the first round at Melbourne. After weeks of preparation we seemed to be as ready as we could be. Our goal was to get as high up in the top 10 as possible and looking at the pace we had, we could even fight for a top 5 spot. But once the race got under way, there was some unexpected rain that spoiled the party a bit, but we managed to get a top 10 finish out of it after all. Race 2 was just one big strategic mistake and I'll leave it at that"

WT:

"We were quite pleased with that 10th placing in mixed weather conditions, but we ended up taking a massive gamble on our tyres in the Sprint which unfortunately did not pay off. We weren't expecting that 10th place in the first race to be the 67's only points until the 8th race in the 4th round in Portugal. That barren run led myself and Douwe to sit down and discuss what we were doing and how we could improve on it to achieve the results we knew were possible. In the meantime Danny Asbury kept a steady flow of points coming through to the team after taking the 68's seat from the Bahrain GP to the Portuguese GP, so we weren't quite at panic stations yet despite a less than ideal start."

After elevating reserve driver Tommi Ojala to the no. 68 after the departure of Asbury for the newly minted Atlantic Series, things were beginning to look dire.

WT:
"For the first time since our Formula Challenge days, we had gone 2 consecutive rounds without scoring a single point. We had also failed to field 2 cars for the first time since the 2013 Abu Dhabi GP and so more drastic measures were required. I relieved Tommi of his duties after a failure to show for the Canadian GP and with few permanent options available I took the seat of the 68 car myself. I thought this would allow me to concentrate fully on the 67 car and help Douwe to turn his and the team's fortunes around."

DT:
"After the first round we were pretty confident with where we would be on the grid, however, as it turned out, we overestimated our chances. Up until Montreal we couldn't match our expectations and barely scored points at all. Montreal then came around and we changed our testing approach because we felt something had to change. Come race day at Montreal, I had my best race in quite a while, having the confidence in both the car and myself to be fighting with the higher end of the grid. After two good finishes in Montreal, we decided to keep up the hard work and try and go for just a little bit more."

After a stunning drive in Canada, Douwe proceeded to score in 20 of the next 22 races, including a streak of 9 consecutive top 10 finishes, a podium in Abu Dhabi and a win in the USA, improving to 8th in the Drivers Championship from 12th the previous year.

DT:

"My best round in the second half of the season was without a doubt, race 1 at Abu Dhabi. After testing the prime tires before the race, I discovered I felt more comfortable on them then the options. So I took the gamble and went for the alternate strategy. After qualifying in 14th, I decided to just roll with it and try to not get involved in fights. Once everyone had pitted to go onto the primes I had a clear track and did the best Supercup stint that I had done in quite some time. By the time I had done my pit stop and noticed a Walk Racing car in front of me, I realized I had to by high up the grid. Then my engineer at that race, Mike Pitman, told me I was in 4th, on the options and right behind Risto Kappet in 3rd. After a multiple lap long battle I managed to get the better of Risto and got my first podium since Barcelona race 2 last year.

After that race it was just a matter of getting some good points haul's until the end of the season, which took a surprising turn when race 1 in Austin got red flagged while I was in the lead. Which made me an unexpected race winner in 2015. Obviously I'm very happy with getting a race win, even if it is in weird circumstances, because the last time I won a race I was still in Formula Challenge. It was a difficult first half of the season, but it was a good feeling to go out on a high."

WT:
"I can't say that I was surprised with Douwe's performance in the 2nd half of the season, as I knew that was exactly what he was capable of. It was great to see him score the team's maiden win, regardless of the circumstances, as we had worked hard all season to be in that kind of position. It means that Douwe has nabbed all of the maiden milestones for the team as well as being our longest tenured driver, so I must congratulate him. As for my performance during my first stint in a Supercup cockpit since 2013, let's just say that I was great moral support for my teammate. While we dropped a spot in the Team's Championship this year, I'm glad that Douwe was able to improve his standing in the Driver's Championship despite the horror start to the season."

While the team has had better seasons in terms of results, 2015 had seen a lot of character building for both driver and management which will prove valuable going forward.

WT:
"To close out, I'd like to thank Douwe for sticking with the team and the job at hand, even when things were looking incredibly grim. I know many drivers that would not have done the same. Having said that, I'd also like to thank everybody that stepped into the 68 car this season, many times with little to no notice. And to finish up, I'd like to announce that we have raised 250 AUD for the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program Appeal, which will help to ensure the iconic creature's survival in the wild."

For those interested in the conservation of this iconic creature, you can find more information about the Tasmanian Devil, DFTD and the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program Appeal at the following website: http://www.tassiedevil.com.au/tasdevil.nsf



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