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INSIDE 2020 SUPERCARS CALENDAR POSTER SUPERCAR XTRA ISSUE 114

ISSUE 114

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PRÉMAT THE FRENCH CONNECTION KELLY RACING SWITCHING TO FORD ANALYSIS 2020 MOVERS & SHAKERS GARRY ROGERS BIDDING FAREWELL TECH TALK THE DOWNFORCE QUANDARY TEKNO AUTOSPORTS STEPPING IT UP 14/11/19 1:05 pm


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ISSUE 114

6 ANALYSIS: 2020 COMINGS & GOINGS The changes to the grid for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2020. 8 ANALYSIS: GRM’S TOUGH CALL The why and how of Garry Rogers Motorsport’s decision to withdraw from Supercars. 10 ANALYSIS: END FOR THE ALTIMA Kelly Racing on the decision to end a sevenseason stint running the Nissan Altima. 12 ANALYSIS: WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020 All the changes to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship calendar in 2020. 14 WINTERBOTTOM COLUMN Mark Winterbottom on Team 18’s expansion to two cars for next season. 16 LOWNDES COLUMN Craig Lowndes on his record-breaking time with Triple Eight Race Engineering.

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18 ROGERS COLUMN Garry Rogers reflects on his team’s 24-season stint in Supercars. 23 FEATURE: THE RECORD BREAKER A look back at DJR Team Penske and Scott McLaughlin’s record-breaking season in 2019. 30 FEATURE: THE FRENCH CONNECTION Alexandre Prémat on his Bathurst win and teaming up with Scott McLaughlin. 34 TECH TALK: GETTING DOWN What impact Supercars’ cut in downforce will have on the racing in 2020.

38 FEATURE: PONY UP How Kelly Racing will look to reset with two Ford Mustangs next season. 44 REVIEW: TICKFORD’S FORD MUSTANG Taking Tickford’s Allan Moffat-inspired Ford Mustang for a test drive. 48 FEATURE: THE END OF THE ROAD Our tribute to Garry Rogers Motorsport and its Supercars legacy. 54 FEATURE: TEKNO’S SYDNEY RESET Tekno Autosports on hopes its move to Sydney will help it climb up the grid. 60 FEATURE: DECADE DAVE David Reynolds on his decision to sign a 10-year contract with Erebus Motorsport. 66 SHOOTOUT: MOST DOMINANT SEASON BY A DRIVER Our top 10 most dominant seasons by a driver in the history of Australian touring cars.

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/SupercarXtra @SupercarXtra @SupercarXtra

THE UNSTOPPABLE MCLAUGHLIN

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JR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was unsurprisingly one of the favourites for the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, as the reigning champion and being equipped with the new Ford Mustang, but few could’ve expected his level of domination. While parity debates, team-order instructions and penalties may have dampened the mood, there can be no denying that the best team/ car/driver combination won. McLaughlin is now the complete product, turning that natural speed he showed ever since his debut in the main game into a championship record breaker, while DJR Team Penske is now the undisputed best in pitlane having ended Triple Eight Race

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Engineering’s championship run over the last two seasons. We pay tribute to McLaughlin’s record-breaking season in the cover story of this edition, from the highs and lows of his year, how he and his team achieved such a level of domination and what comes next. The print edition of this issue also includes a pullout poster that commemorates McLaughlin’s season on one side and features the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship calendar on the other. We also profile McLaughlin’s Bathurst-winning co-driver, Alexandre Prémat, the first Frenchman to win the Great Race and first non-Australian or New Zealand driver victorious at the Mount Panorama Circuit in two decades. Elsewhere, we pay tribute to Garry Rogers Motorsport as

its 24-year stint in Supercars comes to an end, while Garry Rogers reflects on his time in the category in his exclusive column. We look at the big off-season changes for Kelly Racing and Tekno Autosports, as the former contracts to two cars and switches to Ford Mustangs and the latter relocates to Sydney, New South Wales. There’s also a feature on what a downforce reduction will mean to Supercars in 2020, along with a look at what’s changing on the calendar for next season in our ‘Analysis’ section. Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom join Rogers in sharing their thoughts in their new columns, while we touch base with David Reynolds on his new 10-year deal with Erebus Motorsport. We also rank the most dominant seasons by a driver in Australian touring cars in our ‘Shootout’ section. As we move into a new year, we’d like to thank all our readers and subscribers for your support in 2019. It’s been another actionpacked season of Supercars, complete with plenty of talking points, and we’ve enjoyed bringing you our coverage of it all. Visit us at SupercarXtra. com.au to follow the latest news over the off-season and to shop at our online store, or keep in touch with us on our social media channels on Twitter and Instagram (both @SupercarXtra) and on Facebook (Facebook.com/ SupercarXtra). Wishing you all the very best for 2020! – Adrian

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Published by Raamen Pty Ltd Material in Supercar Xtra is protected by copyright laws and may not be reproduced in full or in part in any format. Supercar Xtra will consider unsolicited articles and pictures; however, no responsibility will be taken for their return. While all efforts are taken to verify information in Supercar Xtra is factual, no responsibility will be taken for any material which is later found to be false or misleading. The opinions of the contributors are not always those of the publishers.

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The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship looks set to feature 24 cars yet again in 2020, with a shakeup in licenses seeing the departure of Garry Rogers Motorsport, the contraction of Kelly Racing and the expansion of the likes of Brad Jones Racing, Matt Stone Racing and Team 18.

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espite a dramatic deadline for the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship entries, the category has kept its minimum 24-car count entering the new year. The shock news of the deadline was Garry Rogers Motorsport ending its 24-year stint in the category by announcing its withdrawal with the sale of its two entries (see page eight).

Kelly Racing also sold off two entries, scaling back from four to two cars with the Victorianbased team also switching from Nissan Altimas to Ford Mustangs. The team has run four entries since entering the category in 2009; initially Holden Commodores before becoming the factory-backed Nissan team with the Altimas from 2013 (see page 10). “We are excited for the future now we have confirmed the team will run Ford Mustangs in 2020,” says team co-owner Todd Kelly.

“SUPERCARS IS A TWO-CAR MODEL. I THINK IT’S TIME, IF YOU’RE IN THIS GAME AND FAIR DINKUM ABOUT IT, TO BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR OWN DESTINY.” CHARLIE SCHWERKOLT

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“After 11 seasons in Supercars, we step into a Ford Mustang that is a proven race winner and will provide us with our best opportunity for success in the future. “In this competitive environment, it has necessitated a reconsideration of our structure to create the optimal model for the future.” One of the licenses sold by Kelly Racing went to Matt Stone Racing, with the Racing Entitlement Contract (REC) that underpinned Matt Stone Racing’s single-car entry in 2019, owned by Jason Bright, moving to Brad Jones Racing for 2020. Matt Stone Racing will also expand to two cars for its

third season in the top flight of Supercars, with the purchase of one of the two licenses previously held by Garry Rogers Motorsport. “Earlier in the year, all that speculation about us exiting the sport was us doing an analysis of where we see the sport and our future,” says owner Matt Stone. “Once we realised that we have faith in Supercars going forward, we have committed for an indefinite amount of years.” Team 18 purchased the other license from Kelly Racing. It means Team 18 will run two cars for the first time since entering in 2013. “I’m really excited to be growing Team 18 into a two-car operation in 2020,” says team owner Charlie Schwerkolt.

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ABOVE: Team 18 is one of the 2019 single-car entrants expanding to two cars in 2020, with Scott Pye joining Mark Winterbottom next season.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I feel that the timing is right for the whole team, and I’m really excited to have two cars on track and two garages in pitlane next year.” Tekno Autosports also looks set to expand to two cars as part of its relocation to Sydney, New South Wales; linked with the acquisition of one of three licenses handed back to Supercars over the last two years (see page 54). Meanwhile, Brad Jones Racing expands to four cars with the arrival of the license previously used by Matt Stone Racing and with confirmation the Tim Blanchard-owned license will remain with the team in 2020. Brad Jones Racing joins Tickford Racing as the only teams running more than two cars with three of their own entries in addition to running a fourth (Tim Blanchard Racing and 23 Red Racing respectively). With Matt Stone Racing, Team 18 and Tekno Autosports set to expand to two cars each, all of the single-car entrants from 2019 will double up for 2020. According to Team 18 owner Schwerkolt, not having to share a pit bay, boom and

pitstop personnel was a key motivator in his expansion. “Supercars is a two-car model,” Schwerkolt told Supercars.com. “There’s one boom for each pair of cars, and I’ve had three different single-car teams I’ve been paired with over the last couple of years. “I think it’s time, if you’re in this game and fair dinkum about it, to be in control of your own destiny. It’s a natural move to go to two cars, and it’s the right time.” There could still be a late addition to the grid with a revived Team Kiwi Racing declaring its interest in a return to Supercars. Team owner David John made a bid to enter a Triple Eight Race Engineering-built Holden ZB Commodore at Bathurst, though after that fell through, he focused on 2020. Team Kiwi Racing debuted in 2000 and last raced in Supercars in 2008, fielding New Zealanders such as Fabian Coulthard, Jason Richards and Shane van Gisbergen. “I have already spoken with our major sponsors, many supporters and crew to announce this decision and our focus to not only be on the grid at the opening round of the Supercars

championship in 2020 but at a number of Supercar events throughout the 2020 season, which is also TKR’s 20th anniversary season,” says John. The 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship begins with a pre-season test

day at The Bend Motorsport Park on February 18 followed by the season-opening Superloop Adelaide 500 across February 20 to 23. Stay tuned to SupercarXtra. com.au for the latest off-season news.

PROVISIONAL 2020 ENTRIES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

TEAM DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Tickford Racing Tickford Racing Tickford Racing Tickford Racing/23 Red Racing Erebus Motorsport Erebus Motorsport Brad Jones Racing Brad Jones Racing Brad Jones Racing Brad Jones Racing/Tim Blanchard Racing Walkinshaw Andretti United Walkinshaw Andretti United Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Team 18 Team 18 Matt Stone Racing Matt Stone Racing Tekno Autosports Tekno Autosports

CAR Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore

Note: Entries correct at the time of printing, with possible additions leading into 2020. SUPERCAR XTRA

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The biggest casualty of the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship grid shakeup is the loss of Garry Rogers Motorsport, ending a 24-year run in the category.

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ith Boost Mobile owner Peter Adderton threatening to pull his backing if Supercars didn’t adopt a control upright for next season, Garry Rogers announced the team’s decision to sell its two Racing Entitlement Contracts (RECs). “We won’t be renewing our franchises,” said Rogers in a video address. “I went to Supercars and requested an extension of a week or two to perhaps put a business plan together where we would stay in the Supercar business, but they rejected that. “The Supercar business to me, I do it because I love doing it. It’s not a big financial gainer of any kind.  “We make some money some years, we lose some money 8

some years, but we enjoy it and I enjoy it because of the people I do it with. “Supercars have tried, without success, to curtail the costs. They have not done a good job of that, and certainly we as a team cannot afford to keep doing it the way the rules are currently structured, so we just had to decide what we were going to do.” According to Supercars CEO Sean Seamer, the category could not grant an extension to the October deadline. “We had a conversation with all of the teams about changing the deadline at the Darwin [June] team owners meeting,” explained Seamer. “There was no support for changing it. In order to give someone an extension, all of the teams need to agree to moving the deadline.

“We have to treat everybody equally under the REC. That is a rule that’s written into the REC – Supercars must treat all teams equally. It’s impossible to extend a deadline when we’ve already received entries from other teams. “We’d already had requests for deadline extensions from other teams, at the very last minute, because not everybody enters knowing that they’ve got their sponsorship done for next year. “It’s been tough, because a lot of the [Supercars] team feel like, or have been made to feel like, they’ve intentionally disadvantaged a legend of the sport, which we haven’t. “If you start pushing the deadline out, you make it too hard for other people to acquire another REC or come in new, which is why the deadline is set.

“Even if we did it for everybody... assume that all teams had agreed that they were going to extend the deadline, it’s late already for guys who need to be out there testing in February next year. “If you extend that deadline, you make it extremely hard for people who are trying to find more staff and buy a new car and expand their teams, let alone teams that are trying to move cities, let alone teams that might be considering coming in for the first time.” According to Supercars, a control upright is planned for introduction with the Gen3 rule package in 2022. Meanwhile, Garry Rogers Motorsport will race on in the TCR Australia and S5000 categories. For more on Garry Rogers Motorsport, see page 48.

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Kelly Racing’s switch from Nissan Altimas to Ford Mustangs in 2020 brings to an end the Altima’s seven-season stint in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

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issan was the first new manufacturer to enter Supercars under the Car of the Future regulations in 2013. With the departure of the Altima from the grid at the end of 2019, it is also the last to depart amongst the three brands that joined the category in that era. Kelly Racing’s decision to enter two Ford Mustangs for Rick Kelly and Andre Heimgartner in 2020 marks the end of the team’s seven seasons running of Nissan Altimas, with factory backing from Nissan from 2013 to 2018 and without in 2019. The Altima debuted in 2013, with Kelly Racing

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running four Nissans in each season since. While the initial challenge was to bring the VK56DE V8 engine up to competitiveness, significant gains in more recent times saw the focus switch to the aerodynamic package. With Nissan pulling its funding from the team at the end of 2018, Kelly Racing weighed up its options across 2019 before confirming its move to downsize from four to two cars with the off-season emphasis on reshaping the team from manufacturing to performance with the already proven Mustang package. “It can’t be any harder than that,” says team co-owner Todd Kelly on the challenge of switching to Mustangs relative

to developing the Altima from scratch. “Having a Nissan Patrol engine and getting it to where it is now was a huge task. The Ford engine is at least known technology.” The Altima departs with three wins, 18 podiums and four pole positions, ending a challenging period for Kelly Racing as the only non-Ford or Holden team in the category over the last three seasons. “It’s been the best it has been with the engine and everything, so it’s a little bit sad,” says Todd Kelly on parking the Altimas. “We had a really great car at the start with not a good enough engine, and we’ve developed the engine to where it’s on the money but the car

is too old, so the Mustang will have everything line up at the same time for once. “Nissan have been fantastic to us. The amount of work that’s gone into it is something I’ll never forget.” The 2020 season will be the first for Rick Kelly racing a Ford, following 12 seasons in Holden Commodores and seven with the Altima, and marks a return to the Blue Oval for Heimgartner, who started his career in a Ford Falcon. The Altima will race on in the Dunlop Super2 Series, with Kelly Racing set to field two of the cars in the secondtier category in 2020. For more on Kelly Racing, see page 38.

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With the teams and drivers finalising their plans, this is what awaits in the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. The 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be fought over 14 rounds, 28 races and 6,700 racing kilometres. These are the changes for the upcoming season: ■ The Sydney SuperNight 300 returns after a one-year absence. ■ Phillip Island and Queensland Raceway are off the schedule in order to consolidate the calendar. ■ The pre-season test day is to be held at The Bend Motorsport Park. ■ The SuperSprint format, run at Symmons Plains, Auckland, Winton, Darwin and Sandown, expands with the Saturday races increasing from 120km to 200km. The SuperNight rounds at Sydney and Perth will also feature two 200km races. ■ The Bend Motorsport Park hosts the 500km endurance event, which moves from November to September at the start of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup. ■ The Gold Coast 600 reverts back to the

final round of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup. ■ Sandown switches to the SuperSprint format. ■ The Auckland SuperSprint moves from September to April, run on the ANZAC Day long weekend. ■ The number of Top 10 Shootouts increases to 11, with the use of a Shootout at The Bend 500 rather than the qualifying races that featured at the Sandown 500 in addition to both races at the Adelaide 500, Gold Coast 600 and Newcastle 500 and one at Auckland, Townsville, Darwin and Bathurst. ■ The three-part knockout-qualifying format will feature at the SuperSprint and SuperNight rounds, while qualifying sessions will precede the Shootouts. Despite one less round than in 2019, there will be more racing in terms of total kilometres with the increase in race distances at the SuperSprint rounds in 2020.

2020 VIRGIN AUSTRALIA SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP February 18

Pre-Season Test Day (The Bend)

February 20-23

Superloop Adelaide 500

March 12-15 April 3-5

Melbourne 400 Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint

April 24-26

ITM Auckland SuperSprint

May 15-17

PIRTEK Perth SuperNight

June 5-7

Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint

June 26-28

Watpac Townsville 400

July 17-19

BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown

August 28-30

Sydney SuperNight

September 18-20

The Bend OTR 500

October 8-11

Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000

Oct. 30-Nov. 1 November 20-22 December 4-6

Vodafone Gold Coast 600 Penrite Oil Sandown 400 Coates Hire Newcastle 500

Note: Dates and events correct at the time of printing.

The Sydney SuperNight returns to the Supercars schedule in 2020.

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EXPERT INSIGHT

BEYOND THE WHEEL Column by Mark Winterbottom

GEARING UP FOR EXPANSION

I

t’s been a busy year for everyone involved with Team 18 and for me personally, settling down into the new surrounds of the team and welcoming a new arrival into the family. We’ve had a lot of new personnel join the team for next season with the expansion to two cars and welcoming Scott Pye. It feels like we now have the right people and the right structure to make some big inroads for 2020, where we are ready to hit the ground running with two cars for the first time in the team’s history. It’s been tough only running one car in 2019. It’s a big challenge for single-car teams, having to pair up with another team in pitlane and share the

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pitstop duties. That takes a lot of cooperation, which can be difficult for rival teams to achieve, especially given their size. Expanding to two cars means we will be in control of our own destiny at pitstops, which will be a big boost as we grow and add new personnel for next season. It’s also been an uphill battle in terms of direction and learning curve, not having another car to compare and validate things with. That’s something I missed in 2019 and look forward to getting back in 2020. The pitlane position has also been tough, having been right at the back of the pack, especially when it comes to qualifying, so it’ll be good to move up pitlane and get a

“IT FEELS LIKE WE NOW HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND THE RIGHT STRUCTURE TO MAKE SOME BIG INROADS FOR 2020.” teammate, which addresses two of the biggest impediments from 2019. The team needed to prove it could run one car properly before expanding to two, and the addition of new staff, from engineers to mechanics, and other changes throughout 2019 has built the foundations for the two-car effort in 2020. I’ve not had a lot to do with Scott over the years, but I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing what he brings to the team. It’s a growing team on the up, so he’s joining us at the

perfect time and will bring some new energy with him. Off track it’s been an amazing year with the arrival of Elliot into our family. While the team has been busy with expansion, they have all been fantastic in helping me achieve a great work-life balance and it’s been a great time. Oliver and Austin have already seen their father win races and enjoy some success at the track, so hopefully the changes at the team mean Elliot will see us winning in the not too distant future. – Frosty

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EXPERT INSIGHT

RIGHT ON TRACK

Column by Craig Lowndes

REFLECTING BACK

A

t Sandown in 2019, we celebrated 200 round starts with Triple Eight Race Engineering. The reason I’ve been there for so long is because I believe in what they do, and the results prove it was the right decision to make at the time. It’s been a hell of a journey, to be honest, from first seeing the potential within the team when I first signed in 2005 and the satisfaction of having been part of its rise ever since. A key ingredient in that success is the passion of Roland Dane. You need a strong leader in this sport, and Roland is definitely that. It was his vision of where he wanted to take the team that attracted me in the first place, as I could see what he was developing was very similar to what we had at the Holden Racing Team back in the day. Once we got that first win, at Eastern Creek in 2005, the belief within the team grew and everyone was striving for the same goal, to keep winning. The philosophy within the team hasn’t really changed. And, in fact, there’s still about a half a dozen or more people still with the team since that first win. And that’s a credit to everyone involved; believing in what’s been created. The victory at Bathurst in 2006 was so special for all involved, especially after running so competitively there the previous year. That victory was an amazing feeling, especially with the emotion around Peter Brock’s passing, and ever since 16

victory at Bathurst has meant so much to the team. That win remains my most memorable and emotional from my Triple Eight career. It took me 10 years to get my second Bathurst win, with the added emotion of the tributes to Brock and the pressure on the team. It’ll go down as the best victory I ever achieved. Jamie Whincup joined the team in 2006, and it was no secret he was recruited as he would be a good fit as a co-driver. He was young, very enthusiastic, and Roland obviously believed in his talent. And he was right, as Jamie helped take us to another level with his exceptional speed and work ethic. We were very competitive as teammates but worked very well together. It pushed the

team to be better, stronger and strive for more. It’s coming up on 15 years for Jamie at the team, and it’s quite amazing to have two drivers in the one team for such a long period. When I stepped back from full-time driving in 2019, it was great to be able to co-drive with Jamie once again for the first time in 10 years. And it was really special to share a car again and achieve the results we did in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup. There’s been some incredible achievements for the team over the years, especially the switch from Ford Falcons to Holden Commodores in 2010. When we first went testing with the Commodore at Queensland Raceway, we literally had the Falcon set-up still in it. And, to be honest, the car was a dog and wouldn’t work.

It took us a little while to get our head around exactly what the car needed, and we chipped away at it. Then to roll out at the first round of the season in Abu Dhabi and score a one-two finish was incredible. Roland is good at hiding his emotions, but you could see what that result meant for him at the time, and it was very telling that it was a big team effort. DJR Team Penske has now raised the bar with a fantastic debut season with the Mustang, with Scott McLaughlin driving exceptionally. But 2020 presents fresh challenges with the shake-up of aerodynamic changes and new team and driver combinations. I look forward to being a part of it with Triple Eight Race Engineering and alongside Jamie once again. – Craig

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EXPERT INSIGHT

GARRY THE GURU

Column by Garry Rogers

THE END OF OUR SUPERCARS ERA

I

have fielded a lot of phone calls since I announced that Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) is handing back its Supercars licenses with people saying that they will miss us from motorsport. I cannot stress enough that GRM is not closing up shop; we are just moving to other categories. Supercars has been a great time in our life, but now it is time to move on to other pastures. The biggest highlight for me during our Supercars tenure has been the growth of the people that I have worked with at GRM. Some are still here and some have moved on, but I have enjoyed working with them all. The personalities and relationships that were formed during the Supercars years are what I will always remember. No one knew that Supercars would become the juggernaut that it became when Tony Cochrane and SEL came on the scene. It has been absolutely fantastic to be a part of that. What we had was a group of people who knew how to go motor racing but who couldn’t promote their product to the masses. When Cochrane came along he proved that we had a great product and he showed us how to sell the show. He did promote the sport; he promoted it to governments, he promoted it to sponsors and he and his team promoted it to the fans, and that’s what really got the show where it is today. In terms of race results, 18

winning Bathurst in 2000 is obviously right up there. To win it once was probably not enough, but that win was certainly very satisfying. I am proud that GRM has been able to bring on a lot of young talent – drivers and other team personnel, such as mechanics, truck drivers, wheel polishers and engineers. I’ve had a really good relationship with all of my drivers. When you spend so much time together, you need to have a good relationship. You always have differences of opinion. Someone has to make the final decision and when it comes to the crunch I am the one who

has to be accountable to the sponsors and responsible for the well-being of the business. Not everyone will always be happy with my decisions, but the fact is that I have had to make those decisions and I do not regret any of them. Valvoline has been a part of our business for a long, long time. They started with us on the Thunderdome and have remained right throughout the Supercars era and they will continue with us into future categories that we compete in, so I am very grateful for their involvement. I would also like to thank Kevin Fitzsimons and the boys from Dunlop, who

have been very professional to work with. We do not give enough credit to the flag marshals and volunteers. They have always been a big asset to motor racing. Without volunteers there would be very little sport of any kind. This is my last column as a Supercars team owner, so I would like to thank publisher Allan Edwards for assisting me with my lack of journalistic skills while preparing this column and all of the SupercarXtra readers for your ongoing support. I’ll see you at a track somewhere in 2020. – Garry

“THE BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT FOR ME DURING OUR SUPERCARS TENURE HAS BEEN THE GROWTH OF THE PEOPLE THAT I HAVE WORKED WITH AT GRM… THE PERSONALITIES AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT WERE FORMED DURING THE SUPERCARS YEARS ARE WHAT I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER.”

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THE RECORD BREAKER WORDS Adrian Musolino IMAGES Supercars, DJR Team Penske, Peter Norton

DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin has rewritten the Australian Touring Car Championship/Virgin Australia Supercars Championship record books in 2019. This is the story of his remarkable season and what comes next. t 26 years of age, Scott McLaughlin hit the peak of his powers in 2019. The New Zealander seemed destined for Supercars stardom, from making his debut in the Dunlop Super2 Series as a baby-faced 16-year-old in 2010 to winning races in his first full-time season in the Supercars main game in 2013 to finishing in the top 10 of the championship in each of his seven full-time seasons, having won races across two teams, four different cars and three manufacturers. The move to DJR Team Penske in 2017 and the

partnership with engineer Ludo Lacroix elevated him to the next level, leading to the record-breaking run of 2019 that saw him win a second consecutive championship and the Bathurst 1000 for the first time. This is the story of his season, the key players, the factors in his success and what the future holds for the two-time champion.

THE TEAM

McLaughlin’s second title marked the first consecutive championship defeat for Triple Eight Race Engineering since the start of its dominant run in 2008. SUPERCAR XTRA

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SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN

The rise of DJR Team Penske is incredible when put in the context of the near demise of Dick Johnson Racing in the 2012-2013 off-season. While many point to the arrival of Team Penske as majority owners in 2014 as the salvation for Dick Johnson’s team, it was in fact the work of Ryan Story which saved the team and had it in a position where it was a worthwhile investment for the likes of Team Penske. DJR Team Penske has been on the rise ever since, despite scaling back to one car for its first season in 2015 and the initial setback of Marcos Ambrose stepping down after just two rounds. What followed was a concerted rebuild to inject new life into what had become of Dick Johnson Racing, with steady gains through the second half of 2015 and in 2016, following the expansion back up to two cars. But the game-changing recruitment of engineering and design guru Lacroix from Triple Eight Race Engineering and McLaughlin from Garry Rogers Motorsport into 2017 were the final ingredients needed to become an elite team. The return of Shell as title sponsor, to a team it had enjoyed so much success with over the decades, added not only commercial stability but helped allay fears the Team Penske takeover would diminish the Dick Johnson Racing legacy. The Lacroix-McLaughlin combination nearly won a title in its first attempt, losing the championship following a last-lap tangle in the final race of the season in Newcastle in 2017. But the heartbreak galvanised the team, just as it had done for Dick Johnson when he recovered from crashing out of the lead at Bathurst in 1980 with the championship-Bathurst double in 1981. The 2018 championship win marked not only confirmation of DJR Team Penske’s rise to the top but also a fitting farewell for the Falcon. It was the 17th and final championship win for the Falcon courtesy of the iconic #17 entry. Team Penske’s connections in North America paved the way for Ford to return to Supercars with the Mustang in 2019. And with DJR Team Penske made the homologation team for the Mustang, it could tap into Lacroix’s design genius and the relationship with Ford Performance to build a rocket-ship. From near-collapse seven years ago to the powerhouse team in Supercars, DJR Team Penske is now reaping the rewards of its rebuild. It’s been quite a journey for the man who started it all, Dick Johnson. “We’ve had times when it’s been difficult both mentally and financially, but you’ve just got to work through these things and the right people seem to turn up at the right time,” he says. “It’s great to be in a position where we’re winning races. After all these ups and downs we’ve had over the years and now to be running at the front is a real bonus. Unless you’ve had the lows, you don’t know what the highs are, do you?”

Celebrating victory at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

THE HIGHS

McLaughlin’s dream season began with an event sweep in Adelaide, the perfect debut for the Mustang. 24

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SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN

With six wins from six race starts, after not starting Race 5 (see ‘The Lows’), the record of most wins in a season appeared in sight. Winning six in a row across Barbagallo, Winton, Hidden Valley and Townsville not only cemented his championship lead but also put him on the brink of the record previously held by Craig Lowndes with 16 wins in 1996. McLaughlin broke the record at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint in September, with four events still to spare. Fittingly, he claimed the record on home soil at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand, the circuit where he scored his first race win in his rookie season in 2013. “I wanted so badly to do this on New Zealand soil,” he reflected. “I’m a lucky guy driving a cool car and am just a proud New Zealander trying to do my thing.” The Bathurst win that followed was significant in itself: the first for McLaughlin and Prémat; the first for the Mustang in the history of the event; and the first for Dick Johnson Racing/DJR Team Penske in 25 years. The championship win that followed at Sandown made him the first driver since Whincup in 2012 to achieve the Bathurst-championship double. Remarkably, McLaughlin won a race at each of the first 12 events of the season, with that run coming to an end on the Gold Coast in October. “We’re in a period of greatness, and I think we should stop and respect just how good this young bloke is,” says former Supercars team owner/driver turned commentator Mark Larkham. “He’s not just getting the driving bit right, he’s getting the car set-up right, the strategy stuff right, and he’s getting the starts right. “Well done, Scott McLaughlin, you’re a class act.”

THE RECORDS

McLaughlin features prominently in the Australian Touring Car Championship/Virgin Australia Supercars Championship record books. Prior to 2019, he already held the record for the youngest winner of a race (at 19 years of age in 2013), youngest polesitter (at 20 years of age in 2014) and most pole positions in a season (16 in 2017). In 2019 he’s achieved these records and milestones: ■ Most race wins in a season, breaking the record of 16 held by Lowndes in 1996. ■ Taking Dick Johnson Racing/DJR Team Penske to

ABOVE: The highlight of the season, winning the 2019 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with Dick Johnson (left) and Roger Penske (right) in attendance.

The Mustang Supercar proved to be the dominant car across the 2019 season.

26

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the top of the list of most drivers’ championship wins with nine, one ahead of Triple Eight Race Engineering. ■ First driver to win the championship in a Ford Mustang in 50 years, since Ian Geoghegan in 1969. ■ First driver along with Prémat to win the Bathurst 500/1000 in a Ford Mustang. ■ First driver to win the Darwin Triple Crown (winning both races and topping the Shootout). ■ Second longest run of consecutive race wins with seven, one shy of Lowndes with eight in 1996. ■ The 10th driver to win consecutive championships, along with Geoghegan, Bob Jane, Allan Moffat, Johnson, Jim Richards, Lowndes, Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose and Whincup. ■ Moving into the top 10 of most race wins in the history of the championship. ■ Moving into second place on most pole positions in championship history, behind Whincup. Having re-signed with DJR Team Penske for 2020, it’s expected McLaughlin will only add to his achievements next season.

THE LOWS

BELOW: The low of the season, crashing spectacularly in qualifying on the Gold Coast.

After four wins from the opening four races of the 2019 season, McLaughlin’s winning run came to an end following a bizarre collision with Cameron Waters on the out-lap of Race 5 at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400. With both Mustangs suffering extensive damage, both McLaughlin and Waters were out of the race. The Mustang was repaired in time for Race 6, in which McLaughlin made amends and returned to the top step of the podium. The first official defeat came in Race 8 at the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint with an understated fourth place, in the same race that van Gisbergen handed the Mustang its first loss. Following the run of nine podiums and seven wins across Phillip Island,

Barbagallo, Winton, Hidden Valley and Townsville, an opening-lap clash with David Reynolds in Race 18 in Townsville left McLaughlin with a puncture and 11th place, sparking a war of words between the two drivers. Throughout McLaughlin’s record-breaking run there was angst from the competition regarding the speed of the Mustang, particularly following Supercars’ ongoing parity adjustments throughout the season. “Whatever you do, there’s always going to be someone kicking you down… it’s the tall poppy thing,” he said. “You’ve just got to push on as a team, work hard with what you’ve got. There’s always going to be negative somewhere. “That’s what builds the passion in the sport. That’s why it’s great that the Holden fans might boo me or boo our team, because that means we’ve got good support from the whole series. And one day, those Holden guys will come back, and it’ll be awesome. Whether you’re getting cheered or booed, it’s a good thing because the sport’s popular. “Obviously the team is copping a fair spray thinking we have an advantage or whatever. People don’t believe that we can be good as a squad.” But no one could deny the speed of McLaughlin, irrespective of any potential Mustang advantage. He well and truly outpaced his teammate Fabian Coulthard throughout the season, while also enjoying a significant gap over the Tickford Racing Mustangs, driven by four race-winning drivers. The angst reached fever pitch post-Bathurst, when McLaughlin and Prémat’s win was overshadowed by the team orders given to Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto to slow the pack under a late safety car. Despite the penalty of a $250,000 fine, the loss of 300 teams’ championship points and the relegation of Coulthard and D’Alberto to last place, some rivals insisted McLaughlin and Prémat should’ve been stripped of the win. Then, a technical infringement led to a $30,000 fine, the loss of the Bathurst pole position and a grid penalty at Sandown. “I believe we won it fair and square... it just sucks we have to deal with all this stuff,” he said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done as a team. There’s always conjecture, and basically I think the majority of the people are upset about our year. And they have been from the start when we started winning. We push on as a team. I’m proud of what we’ve done. I’m proud of winning Bathurst and I’m proud of winning the championship. “Off-track it’s been political. We’re just going to have to push on and fight them off, because I think we’ve fought off a lot this year. And I think we’ve done a good job to stay together as a team.” The high of the Bathurst win was soon followed by the low of the huge qualifying crash at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600, which ruled he and Prémat out of Race 27 and destroyed chassis DJRTP 06, the only Mustang to start the season that hadn’t been upgraded from a previous-spec Falcon FG X, forcing DJR Team Penske into a new-car build for Sandown. For a season of such frequent highs, there were some hefty on and off track lows. SUPERCAR XTRA

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SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN

Also in 2020, the number of Mustangs on the grid will increase to eight with Kelly Racing joining the Blue Oval brigade. The experience the team had in engine development and tuning with the Nissan Altima will help in the manufacturer switch, with Rick Kelly and Andre Heimgartner likely to vault up the grid given the Mustang’s speed. These new challenges will make it harder for McLaughlin to replicate his 2019 domination next season.

THE FUTURE

“WE WANT HIM TO COME OVER… HE’S GOT A GOOD FUTURE. YOU WILL SEE HIM IN AMERICA I AM SURE IN THE NEAR FUTURE.” – ROGER PENSKE THE THREATS

The end of season fightback of Triple Eight Race Engineering suggests DJR Team Penske and McLaughlin won’t have it all their own way in 2020. With aerodynamic levels reduced by around 15 per cent as part of an improved aerodynamic homologation testing process, any perceived advantage the Mustang had should be gone. The Holden challenge will again be led by its factorybacked team, with Shane van Gisbergen and Whincup still formidable opponents. Triple Eight Race Engineering had not lost consecutive drivers’ championships since its first in 2008, with the appointment of Jeromy Moore following a five-year stint with Porsche adding to an already strong engineering core. The other Holden teams to watch include Walkinshaw Andretti United, following a strong end to 2019 and buoyed by the upcoming prized recruitment of Chaz Mostert, and Erebus Motorsport, growing stronger with Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale back for a third season as teammates.

MCLAUGHLIN’S UPWARDS TREND

YEAR

POSITION

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

10th 5th 8th 3rd 2nd 1st 1st

28

TEAM

Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske

With a Bathurst 1000 win now ticked off from his to-do list, McLaughlin could soon seek new challenges elsewhere. A move to North America to race in NASCAR appears inevitable: he’s still only 26 years of age with few things yet to accomplish in Supercars; he’s always had an interest in NASCAR; he is set to marry his American partner, Karly; and he has a clear path there through Roger Penske. A comparison can be made with Ambrose, who also took Supercars by storm and won two consecutive championships early in his career before a move to NASCAR. The difference, though, is the path McLaughlin can take to NASCAR. While Ambrose had to work his way up by starting from scratch, McLaughlin has the backing of Penske, the most powerful figure in North American motorsport. McLaughlin said he’d “race a wheelbarrow if I need to” for Penske. And Penske doesn’t shy away from the fact he will open the door for McLaughlin in North America. “We want him to come over,” said Penske. “He’s got a good future. You will see him in America I am sure in the near future. He’s a guy who knows how to win, knows how to race fast and has great commercial savvy to us in today’s world as we deal with our partners. “Scotty has a great future with us. People ask what are we going to do next – at the right time we will figure that out.” The plans are likely well underway for McLaughlin’s move to North America, whether it’s post-2020 or later. In the meantime, we are witnessing a great driver and team at the peak of their powers. And despite the controversies, we witnessed history being made in 2019. CHAMPIONSHIP TRENDLINE

1st

3

CAR

Holden VF Commodore Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford Mustang

2

1

1

2018

2019

5

10th

8 10

20th

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

■ Garry Rogers Motorsport ■ DJR Team Penske

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11/11/19 6:57 pm


ALEXANDRE PRÉMAT

FRENCH

CONNECTION While the focus was on the return of Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander entering the 2019 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, it was Alexandre Prémat who won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and helped Scott McLaughlin take his second championship win, capping a remarkable eight-year journey for the Frenchman in Supercars.

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WORDS James Crocker IMAGES Peter Norton, James Baker, Supercars

any questioned Garry Rogers’ decision to bring Alexandre Prémat to Supercars for the 2012 season, given the vast differences of the category to anything the Frenchman had raced before. Fast forward to 2019 and Prémat is a Bathurst 1000 winner and an elite level co-driver. His partnership with Scott McLaughlin is a formidable one, and the

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pair netted their first Great Race title in 2019, edging McLaughlin closer to his second consecutive drivers’ championship. Whilst McLaughlin takes most of the plaudits and attention for the win, Prémat was the underrated and understated safe pair of hands that kept the car clean and in position for McLaughlin to take advantage, while the Frenchman battled more fancied co-drivers such as Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander.

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ALEXANDRE PRÉMAT

EVENTS 2014 Sandown 500 2014 Bathurst 1000 2014 Gold Coast 600 I 2014 Gold Coast 600 II 2015 Sandown 500 2015 Bathurst 1000 2015 Gold Coast 600 I 2015 Gold Coast 600 II 2016 Sandown 500 2016 Bathurst 1000 2016 Gold Coast 600 I 2016 Gold Coast 600 II 2017 Sandown 500 2017 Bathurst 1000 2017 Gold Coast 600 I 2017 Gold Coast 600 II 2018 Sandown 500 2018 Bathurst 1000 2018 Gold Coast 600 I 2018 Gold Coast 600 II 2019 Bathurst 1000 2019 Gold Coast 600 I 2019 Gold Coast 600 II 2019 Sandown 500

RESULTS

CO-DRIVER

TEAM

8th 17th 7th 2nd 14th 5th 21st 6th 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd DNF 12th 1st 4th 3rd 5th Race cancelled 1st 3rd DNS 9th

Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Shane van Gisbergen Shane van Gisbergen Shane van Gisbergen Shane van Gisbergen Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin

Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Garry Rogers Motorsport Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske

The partnership is one of the longest running endurance combinations in the field, with Prémat and McLaughlin teaming up for five enduro campaigns across two teams. Aside from a one-year fling with Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight Race Engineering, which saw Prémat win a PIRTEK Enduro Cup, the McLaughlin-Prémat combination is one of the most cohesive on the grid. Prémat arrived in Supercars in 2012 with an impressive CV that featured GP2 wins, with future Formula 1 world champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as teammates, a Macau Grand Prix win, an A1 Grand Prix title, four seasons in the competitive DTM and four Le Mans 24 Hours starts. Rogers took a chance on the Frenchman, despite the struggle of many internationals to get to grips with the Australian V8-powered beasts. A tough 2012 saw him dropped for the Gold Coast, while he missed the final race of the season in Sydney through heat exhaustion (ironically to be replaced by McLaughlin) and drew the ire of his competitors with many on-track run-ins. The 2013 switch to the Car of the Future rules saw Prémat show promise, recording a fourth place at the season opener in 32

Adelaide. However, with Volvo coming in from 2014 and bringing with them Swedish driver Robert Dahlgren, Prémat was relegated to co-driving duties. Given the pace of the Volvo Polestar S60, Prémat missed the opportunity to take the next step in his full-time career, settling for co-driving duties alongside McLaughlin. The partnership immediately showed promise, with the pair grabbing second in the Sunday race on the Gold Coast that season. A lean 2015 endurance campaign followed, with the pair having a one-year hiatus when Prémat won the PIRTEK Enduro Cup with van Gisbergen in 2016, following second places at Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast’s Sunday race, with the Frenchman’s first Supercars win coming in the Saturday race. The podium run at the biggest team in the category, which helped van Gisbergen claim his first drivers’ championship win, confirmed Prémat’s place as a highly sought-after co-driver. McLaughlin’s career-defining move to DJR Team Penske resulted in a reunion with Prémat in 2017, with another win on the Gold Coast followed by Prémat playing a crucial role in McLaughlin’s 2018 title

CAR Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Holden VF Commodore Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford FG X Falcon Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang

triumph with his safe hands helping the pair to three top-five finishes in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup. McLaughlin was quick to pay tribute to his trusted co-driver. “Without Alex’s speed and experience in the car across the enduros, I don’t think I would have been able to win the championship,” he said. McLaughlin and Prémat’s strong partnership is based on the pair’s similar preferences in handling, with both drivers liking a pointy, tail-happy car. Another element of the partnership is their off-track relationship, with the two enjoying a close friendship since their days as teammates in 2013. “With Scott, we’ve spent so much time together since 2013, so there is a really good friendship going together,” says Prémat. Prior to this year’s PIRTEK Enduro Cup, McLaughlin hailed Prémat as a “jet”. “As a driving combo, me and Alex, no dramas,” he expanded. “Straight away he was up to speed, within two laps he was right near me. He’s a bloody jet; he’s unreal.” And this long journey for both drivers finally culminated in the greatest prize of them all, a Bathurst 1000 win. “I am so happy to win this race,” said Prémat. “It’s insane! I mean for Roger

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RIGHT: Celebrating a long-awaited win in the Bathurst

1000 for the drivers and team.

Penske, he won the Indy 500 with Simon Pagenaud, a French guy, and then the other franchise is winning Bathurst also with a French guy… it is perfect. I think there is something good in the recipe. “It was unbelievable in the garage for the last 20 laps. It was insane. There was so much emotion, in my stomach I felt so sick. “Thank you so much to this team and to Scott. What a team and what a driver. It is so great to be a part of this. I will remember this forever.” Prémat became the first non-Australian or New Zealander to win the Bathurst 1000 in the Supercars era and the first since Swede Rickard Rydell in 1998. He also became the first Frenchman to win the race, a feat that Prémat says he is proud of. “I’m very proud to be the first French driver to win Bathurst; it means a lot and the race is up there with all the best races to win, alongside the Daytona 500, Le Mans and Monaco in Formula 1, so it’s kind of crazy to be part of the story of Bathurst,” he says. “This is big news in France and Europe. They’ve been following me a lot, especially since I’m one of the only international drivers here racing in Supercars with Simona De Silvestro and Maro Engel and some other drivers. But they haven’t stayed as long as me, so I would say now I’m a benchmark and I will come here more and more. “It means a lot; it was really hard and we put so much effort in all weekend to win that race. There was so much pressure. “When I came here for my first time in 2012, the target was to go and try to win some races and Bathurst, but when you’re starting on the low teams it’s pretty hard to do that. But stepping up the ladders and going with the big teams like DJR Team Penske, they gave me the great opportunity to win for them with Scott. “This is a really good reward for our family for both of us and for DJR Team Penske.” Following the 2019 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, Prémat returned to his home in Las Vegas where he works as a driver trainer and with occasional outings in American sportscars, so far removed from Supercars. While the local heroes such as Lowndes and Tander will continue to command the headlines during the enduros, Prémat continues to defy expectations with more podiums and race wins. RIGHT: Prémat saw McLaughlin’s talent firsthand as teammates at Garry Rogers Motorsport in the latter’s rookie campaign in 2013.

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TECH TALK

WORDS Andrew Clarke IMAGES Peter Norton, Glenis Lindley, Justin Deeley

Supercars will reduce downforce on the Ford Mustang and Holden ZB Commodore for 2020 in the latest bid to improve the racing and achieve better parity between the cars.

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upercars has bowed to pressure and announced it is reducing downforce on its racing cars from 2020. The Ford Mustang and Holden ZB Commodore will be re-tested through an improved process over the offseason, with downforce reduced by around 15 percent. The hope is that a reduction in downforce will improve a car’s ability to follow and then increase overtaking opportunities. It’s seen as a long-awaited redress. Over time the amount of downforce has slowly crept up, adding up to what is measured as 350kg of downforce at 200km/h, as new models were introduced since the implementation of the Car of the Future regulations from 2013. Each manufacturer and design team was looking for an advantage and playing the system. Ride heights, 34

pitch angles and the like all used to fit the figures and the test but not to create parity. One of the most significant cars in terms of aerodynamics in Supercars was the Volvo Polestar S60. Scott Burch from Garry Rogers Motorsport was involved in

“I SUPPOSE THE CARS HAVE GENERALLY GOTTEN MORE AERO DEPENDENT AS TIME’S GONE ON…” that development and agrees there was incremental creep not just from that car but from all cars. “I suppose the cars have generally gotten more aero dependent as time’s gone on,” he says.

“Because we have a very large planar surface [the front undertray], which is very close to the ground on these, which sits the leading edge a metre in front of the centre of the front wheel, and then you’ve got this huge area at the back. “When you dip down on the brakes, you generate an awful lot of downforce on there. Anyone who steps in and gets out talks about how amazing these things are on the brakes. “In open-wheel cars like Formula 1, you’ve got big wings on the front and rear and a lot of under body aero with big diffusers. They got a lot of up wash on the rear of the car, which affects the ability of cars to follow. “We don’t have that and taking off aero probably won’t change it a lot, but if you cut that under tray it would change how the car behaves when following people.

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The pre-Car of the Future Ford FG Falcon from 2012.

The post-Car of the Future Ford Mustang from 2019. Note the visible difference in aero since 2012, particularly the size of the rear wing.

“You hear a lot of drivers talking about how the tyres tend to heat up and get greasy on the front end when they are following. So you really have to attack quickly when you get behind somebody, otherwise you just end up in that train forever.” Aero wash has been a significant factor, limiting the ability of cars to stay close to one another let alone overtake. “We’re using the existing tools that the guys have got now to be able to pull some downforce off of the cars and redo the aero homologation process,” says Supercars CEO Sean Seamer. “There’s a strong theory that the reduction of downforce will improve the racing.

The more that we invest in getting the upfront processes right... we’ve got to do the hard work now, so we don’t go through what we’ve gone through this year.” According to Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess, the downforce target for 2020 has been set so as not to require a major overhaul of each car. “We’ll take a small amount of downforce off the cars,” he says. “Long-term, it might be something that we look at more rigorously, and take a larger amount away. But at the moment we’re going to do it in such a way where we’re not creating teams that go and design new this, and new that, and new this.”

The 2020 homologation test, officially known as VCAT, will include measuring downforce at various ride heights in order to improve accuracy, with an active suspension system developed over the last year by Supercars’ technical department in conjunction with technology partner D2H. The system’s active dampers measure downforce and allow ride height changes to be undertaken quickly between runs. It will be fitted to each car at the VCAT test, which will again take place on an airport runway. “We’ve been developing an active-ride system, so we could put the car in as many different ride height configurations as we want,” says Burgess. SUPERCAR XTRA

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TECH TALK

The ability for cars to stay close to one another will be improved by the aerodymanic reduction.

“We’ll paritise the cars across the full spectrum of ride heights, which is different to how we’ve done it in the past. “Using load cells, [the active ride system] can measure the force being generated, and we can change the ride height of the car 1mm in 150 milliseconds. “We can change the front or rear ride height, so we’ll just measure the cars through a far greater range of ride heights. “It was something that’s been looked at in the past, but it wasn’t done to the degree of accuracy or repeatability that you’d need. “We’ve been working this year on doing that, and we have run a few times with our own car to make sure we’re happy with the process and happy with the accuracy of it. “We’re at that point now to do a full VCAT at the end of the year, using active ride.” Many racing formulae globally have worked to reduce aero to create better racing, including in Formula 1 where the cars will be radically reshaped in 2021 to cut downforce and improve racing. When you talk to the engineers, you begin to understand the solution is not that simple. When a car is following another, everything starts to heat up – tyres, which reduces grip; brakes, which extends the braking distance for the following car; and engines, which has all sorts of other consequences – so any overtaking needs to be done quickly or the train becomes a longer 36

train. This is why push to pass and shortterm drag reduction systems seem to work well, because of the instant boost. Clearly if aero is taken off the front, it will also need to be taken off the rear to keep the balance. The net effect of an aero reduction will be that the cars are harder to drive, placing

more of a premium back on the drivers. Overtaking could come not just because a car can follow easier but also because drivers will make mistakes as they push harder in cars that are more difficult to drive. Will the changes lead to better racing? The 2020 Supercars season will be the litmus test. Downforce will be cut by around 15 per cent in 2020.

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11/11/19 6:15 pm


KELLY RACING

WORDS Andrew Clarke IMAGES Kelly Racing

After seven seasons with the Nissan Altima, Kelly Racing switches to Ford Mustangs and downsizes to two cars in 2020. Co-owner and driver Rick Kelly reflects on the team’s time with Nissan and what awaits with Ford.

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he news in early-2012 was exactly what Supercars needed. The Car of the Future program had ticked one of the boxes it needed to tick with a new manufacturer joining the category, Nissan with Kelly Racing. As the pioneers in this exercise, Todd and Rick Kelly had taken on a massive venture and a giant step into the unknown from which others would benefit, namely Erebus Motorsport with AMG MercedesBenz and Garry Rogers Motorsport with Volvo. There was talk of how much money Nissan had dropped just to get the engine close to that of the established rivals, and there was complexity getting aero parity right. The Altima had to conform to all the measurements. Its steeply raked front windscreen and tailgate meant it was slippery and a very different beast to the Commodore and Falcon of the time. It was a challenge, and now it is ending after seven years. The Kellys made a team that builds and develops, and only one manufacturer remaining was going to allow that to happen, while acknowledging that the seven-year-old build and development program for the Nissan has clearly left it trailing behind two Holden evolutions and one significant evolution from Ford in the switch from Falcon to Mustang.

“For us, it’s just really exciting,” Rick Kelly says from his Braeside base. “Obviously, we’ve been in the Nissan program for a long time and the cars that are racing in Supercars now are quite different in specification to what we started with. The Nissan that we’ve got and that we race was built to the rules of the times. “So having a common car and all the bits and pieces that go along with it is going to be different and a new challenge for us. To get into something that’s I guess a little bit more current than what we’re in now is something we are really looking forward to.” Given brother Todd’s love of the Chevrolet badge, the switch to Ford was a little bit of a surprise. The brothers knew they needed to leave the Nissan behind, and in reality they started the assessment for moving forwards from the minute Nissan pulled out, even if they have run without factory support. New manufacturers were courted, but none of the dates got past first base, and that meant it was either Ford or Holden. Emotion was left on the table and a proper analysis was set in train. “Firstly, Ford has been amazing with the transition and the interest they showed in having Kelly Racing as part of their racing family,” says Kelly. “That for us is a very big thing, having the support of Ford and Ford Performance.

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KELLY RACING

Kelly Racing wanted to use its manufacturing expertise to build its new cars and Holden wasn’t going to allow that, though Ford would. “Obviously in Kelly Racing we’ve always had a platform where we have great capabilities on the engineering and production side of things as well,” says Kelly. “We know with shifting to Holden you have to buy a lot of your equipment from a certain team, and with Ford it’s not that way. You have the ability to buy things if you need them or make a lot yourself. And that suits our platform. It allows us to keep our departments going. “Also, the Mustang has some proven track history already. It’s a very exciting performance car that is very appealing to us and the fan base as well. So, there’s several reasons behind it.”

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For anyone who knows Todd and Rick, they have a different way of looking at the world but both have the same competitive urges. Todd is more analytical and loves the detail of the engineering and the like. It’s not fair, though, to portray Rick in too much of a relaxed vibe. He is super competitive and wants to be at the front again, but he is smart enough to know Todd’s strengths and plays to them. “The work that Todd’s done on this has been exceptional,” he says. “He’s been working tirelessly on this now for probably eight months I suppose. There’s no guaranteed step that we’ll turn around our performance; there’s just no way of telling the future. This time last year, if we had to make a decision, you wouldn’t know which one to go with, which car was going to perform better.

BELOW: The sun sets on the Nissan Altima’s seven seasons in Supercars.

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“THE MUSTANG HAS SOME PROVEN TRACK HISTORY... IT’S A VERY EXCITING PERFORMANCE CAR THAT IS VERY APPEALING TO US.” RICK KELLY

“However, three months into the year it was very clear that Mustang was the better performer. “There’s going to be changes made again with aero which has been put out by Supercars as far as reducing downforce and so on. So knowing which one of these is going to be the best option next year, it’s extremely difficult to tell. “But, in looking at it, I think that the resources of Ford Performance is very strong, and that is something that we’ve looked at in this decision process over the six or eight months. Transitioning into the cars and being able to make panels and all that stuff is part of that decision too.” Switching makes is never as easy as it seems. While there is a lot of commonality it is the differences that make it hard. But at the top of the tree for things to master is the engines. And here, the brothers made a bold and interesting decision. Clearly, they had the option of trying to buy engines from Tickford Racing or DJR Team Penske, but they had an engine room and a team of engineers sitting by to have a crack at Ford engines. But, clearly, they couldn’t afford to spent the same amount of money like they did on the Nissan. “It quickly became the best option for us [to do their own program] because it’s not like a Holden team where you’ve got a couple of different external suppliers; there’s not a lot around,” says Kelly. “Todd is very passionate about the engine side of things, and we have great internal knowledge and we’ve also had fantastic external support. “Even though it’s the early stages on that as well, the amount of people that are excited about us running Mustangs and who have put their hand up to assist has being pretty mind-blowing.

“The engine is part of that whole process as well. We’ve got great internal resources and also external resources to get it to where it needs to be. It is a challenge to get one ready for next year on the power limit. But I think Todd and the team are pretty confident that we’ll be able to get to a good starting point by that time.” They will start with the engines and development work that was part of the Stone Brothers Racing program before the team was sold and Erebus went Mercedes. There’s been a lot of evolution in that time and there is a challenge to get on top of it quickly, but it is a novel approach and only hindsight at the end of next year will let us all know whether it was wise or foolhardy. “It’s too hard to put a number under it as to where we will be starting,” says Kelly. “All we have done is put a huge amount of effort into getting the right people on the project. And the right components ordered and delivered to put a nice package together. You don’t actually know what you’re going to see until that all arrives and you’ve got the engine together and put it on the dyno. “When we do get to that point, improvements beyond that timeline can be pretty lengthy depending on what components you’re having to redesign and rethink as well. The plan is to have a pretty solid base to work from by the start of the year and then progress from there.” There is a buzz in Rick’s voice. He is genuinely excited for what lies ahead as well as the challenges. He is hoping the manufacturing expertise and the many other lessons learned will take him back to the front of the field. “It sounds easy, but there’s much more to consider with changing,” he adds. “The body’s in a different position on the chassis. We need to understand whether we can use the existing cross-member with the Ford engine as to

Andre Heimgartner and Rick Kelly will drive Kelly Racing’s two Mustangs in 2020.

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KELLY RACING

what we’ve got now. Or the cooling from the front splitter to the engine and breakdown all that stuff. We’ll need to modify a few things to make that work. “We’ll have to move things around inside the car to get everything to work. I think it’s a pretty significant job. “One thing we’ve had to do ourselves internally is direct resources towards the aero package, and that’s something that we’ll be relieved of, which is a good thing.” Kelly Racing was the first of the new breed back in 2013 and outlasted the rest with a resilience few expected. The wins didn’t flood in the door, and the politics of running a factory team and looking after homologation was clearly a massive undertaking, with and without factory support. But the cars run today are very different to what was built in 2013. We’ve all heard about the increase in aero, but that doesn’t matter for the build process. What matters there is the use of carbon fibre and other exotic materials for parts like roof panels, boot lids and bonnets. Aside from longevity, it would be hard to rate the Nissan exercise as an unequivocal success. Rick is hoping that changes now. “It was definitely a challenging time... the way everyone measures whether a relationship like that was successful is the amount of wins, and I would’ve loved to have had more,” he says.

Kelly drove the Altima from 2013 to 2019.

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SUPERCAR XTRA

Heimgartner has been a star performer for Kelly Racing over the last two seasons.


“We can put a hand up through that process and say that we could have done better, there were things we could have done better. But what we were doing was a new thing for the sport. There were a lot of things that were said and not done for us to bring Nissan in. “A lot of that was engine power stuff and all the other bits and pieces that went along with that process. There’s things that I think we could say we could’ve done better to implement it because it was our first time, but there was a lot of things the category could have done better as well to make that process something that would have offered us a better chance for us to succeed. “There was a lot that was out of our control. But at the end of the day, we had a great relationship with Nissan over that period. I think we did a lot of different things away from the track as well, so overall I think you could say that the program was a success for us and people move on to different things.” Clearly the Kellys looked at and talked to other manufacturers, but there are timelines attached to all decisions, and that expired months ago. “It’s an extremely big project to bring in another manufacturer; we couldn’t make that decision in October and do it for next year,” explains Kelly. “You’ve got to be at least 12 months ahead to do that. There’s also a significant investment from someone – whether it’s a manufacturer or a team or an

investor – to develop a car. And when I say car, I mean aero pack and engine for a new manufacturer. It’s not really a simple thing to do, particularly with the engine rules and where they’re set to. So, it’s something that at this point for us wasn’t possible. “We’ve constantly looked at changing from four to three to two over the years to make sure that we’ve got the best platform for us. For us the Ford is a good platform because it allowed us to keep all the departments running to the best of their ability, but unfortunately it was a stretch to go from four Nissans to four Mustangs in the time frames. Especially with the costs involved. So two was the best decision. “We’ve opted to run two Super2 cars, so we’ve still got four cars on the track, and that helps us continue to work with some of the inventory we’ve got with Nissan and develop drivers. It’s a good compromise.” So now they have set about manufacturing and building cars from parts they can build themselves, and not have to buy off a competitor. Is that the right approach? Would they have been better just becoming an arm’s length operation of another team? We’ll never know, because that was never on the radar. What we will be able to do is measure the team against some other benchmarks, and clearly DJR Team Penske has set a high bar to reach, but that is the target. Also, there’s a 1956 F-100 pickup in the shed which they can now drive around without hiding.

With Kelly Racing downsizing from four to two cars, Simona De Silvestro ends her full-time Supercars career at the end of 2019. The Swiss racer debuted in Supercars with a wildcard entry at Bathurst in 2015, stepping up as a full-time driver at Kelly Racing in 2017. De Silvestro will return to Europe having signed on as a Porsche Formula E development driver. “It’s something that I need to take because that’s a really big chance for me and my career,” she told Supercars.com. “So for me it is a really big opportunity, and as a driver it’s always something you kind of work towards, to have a team and a brand hire you, so it’s pretty exciting times for me.” De Silvestro has left the door open to return to Supercars. “Hopefully I’ll be around maybe for the enduros next year or maybe a wildcard – I think that’s definitely something that is possible,” she said. Reflecting back on her time in Supercars, she added: “I’m not disappointed, definitely I feel the three years have been great. It has been really an awesome experience for me to race here, and even though I feel like some boxes haven’t been ticked, that’s sometimes how racing is.” SUPERCAR XTRA

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CAR REVIEW

“THE TICKFORD TRANS-AM WAS CREATED TO PROVIDE BOTH MOTORSPORT AND AUTOMOTIVE ENTHUSIASTS WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO OWN THEIR OWN PIECE OF HISTORY.” 44

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DREAM MACHINE

WORDS Allan Edwards IMAGES John Doig (Torque Photos)

We take Tickford’s 1969 BOSS 302-inspired Mustang for a drive.

I

t’s not every day that you get to cruise up the highway in one of Allan Moffat’s race cars. Well, it wasn’t quite his actual 1969 BOSS 302 Trans-Am, but by the amount of heads that it was turning it may as well have been. The car I was lucky enough to be fanging around in for a couple of days was the Tickford-built Trans-Am, which is a modern interpretation of the BOSS 302 Mustang raced by Allan Moffat in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For most motorsport fans the 1969 BOSS 302 Trans-Am needs no introduction. The Coca-Cola-sponsored red beast claimed 101 victories from 151 starts in the hands of Ford’s imported hero from 1969 to 1974. Tickford has worked with Moffat to create the modern roadgoing version of the five-litre V8 Trans-Am, complete with near identical Coca-Cola red livery and the famous number 9 emblazoned on the door and bonnet. The Tickford Trans-Am was created to provide both motorsport and automotive enthusiasts with the opportunity to own their own piece of history recreated for the modern era. Available in two variations, named the Performance Edition and the Performance Plus edition, the Tickford Trans-Am requires the owner to purchase and register a Race Red Mustang GT (auto or manual) and arrange delivery to Tickford’s workshop in the outer Melbourne suburb of Epping, where its team of experts will convert it into a Tickford Trans-Am Mustang. The exterior features a modern interpretation of the 1969 livery complete with rear wing and a Tickford-engineered grille, featuring twin driving lights, to replicate the prominent nose of the ’69 Mustang. Tickford’s 400kw ECU upgrades increase power to 536hp and torque to 620Nm when installed on manual vehicles and to 376kW and 620Nm on automatic donor vehicles. To further replicate the race version, an engine bay strut brace has been installed (which features a plaque autographed by Allan Moffat) and special eight-spoke 20-inch Minilite wheels have been created with both versions of the Trans-Am running on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. The vehicle has been lowered by 25mm and fitted with Eibach springs. Brakes are upgraded to high-performance Bendix slotted rotors and ceramic pads fitted to the existing Brembo front and rear calipers. SUPERCAR XTRA

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CAR REVIEW

The interior gets a whole host of goodies, including leather trim in the styling of a ’69 BOSS 302 Mustang with stitched Tickford Trans-Am logos. Door panels are accentuated in red and black leather and a neat little racing inspired leather steering wheel has been developed, which is two-thirds thicker for a better feel with a red straight ahead marker on it that is designed to look like the race tape pointer that racing drivers of the day regularly used. A retro-inspired race gear knob (manual only) is also included along with a Tickford Trans-Am badge encompassing the build number on the dashboard (the one I drove was 002) and is finished off by Tickford Trans-Am badged high quality floor mats. The Performance Plus edition also includes a Wilwood high-performance brake package and an ‘Allan Moffat Experience’, which consists of a two-day driver training course and an invite to a Legends Gala dinner with Allan Moffat. Tickford has limited production to 100 vehicles ensuring that the beast holds its value. Talking of price, this car is not cheap at $32,995 for the Performance edition and $52,995 for the Performance Plus example, and that’s after you’ve purchased your donor vehicle. I loved putting my foot down and hearing the throaty roar, though you could easily rack up the points and blow your licence very quickly if you

46

weren’t careful, and that was in ‘regular mode’ – switch the car into one of the performance modes and it’s a whole new level! It’s the detail that impresses with this car, including the stallion images that are projected onto the ground at the sides of the vehicle when the lights are on. So what did I really like? The silver buttons that replicated a racecar’s switch panel, the aforementioned imitation race tape on the steering wheel, the gear LED display on the dash, and the short throw of the gear shift, all of which added to the ‘race like’ experience. What didn’t I like? Not a lot, but the left-hand side mirror was virtually useless no matter how much you tried to adjust it, and my other concern was the amount of fuel that it drank. But I guess if you are spending the type of money required to own this weekend warrior, then the size of your bank account allows you not to have to worry about running costs. Mind you, the longer it takes to fill this car up, the more you can enjoy the envious gawks of the other customers who happen to be in your local servo at the time. This is very much a “look at me, look at me” car, so if you are on the shy side, then this beast is probably not going to be your poison, but I have to say that I enjoyed my time behind the wheel, even if it was only for a couple of days … I guess one can dream!

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ABOVE: The Tickford-built Trans-Am, which is a modern interpretation of the BOSS 302 Mustang raced by Allan Moffat. BELOW: Moffat’s 1969 BOSS 302 Trans-Am. The Coca-Colasponsored Mustang claimed 101 victories from 151 starts in the hands of the Canadian-born racer from 1969 to 1974.

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GARRY ROGERS MOTORSPORT

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After 24 consecutive seasons in the Australian Touring Car Championship/Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Garry Rogers Motorsport will withdraw from the category at the end of 2019. The Victorian-based team leaves a legacy of developing a number of leading drivers, including this season’s record breaker.

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t seems fitting albeit bittersweet that Garry Rogers Motorsport’s final season in Supercars coincided with a record-breaking run for one of its greatest products, Scott McLaughlin. After all, since Garry Rogers Motorsport entered the championship in 1996, it has been a breeding ground for young talent. And even though the team may not have won a championship, three drivers who got their break there (McLaughlin, Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander) have won 10 of the last 13 titles.

WORDS Adrian Musolino IMAGES Peter Norton, Autopics.com.au, Supercars

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GARRY ROGERS MOTORSPORT

Following a stellar driving career, Garry Rogers turned his attention to team ownership and ran cars in various categories before committing to the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1996. Younggun Steven Richards won the privateers’ title for the team in that first season, followed by a second place alongside father Jim Richards at Bathurst in 1997. Another rising star made his mark with the team with the arrival of Garth Tander in 1998. While teammate Jason Bargwanna claimed the team’s first race win at Calder Park Raceway in 1998, Tander went on to take the team’s first round win at Queensland Raceway in 1999. The combination emerged as a genuine challenger to the then-dominant Holden Racing Team in 2000, in what would prove to be Garry Rogers Motorsport’s most successful season. Tander finished in second place in the championship behind Mark Skaife, though the Garry Rogers Motorsport duo prevailed at a a very wet Mount Panorama to win the Bathurst 1000. The team couldn’t sustain that level of success with Tander moving on to the factory-backed HSV Dealer Team in 2005. There were, though, some memorable moments before the team challenged for a title again: a last-lap pass for the win for Cameron McConville at Winton Motor Raceway in 2004; a first win for Lee

Jason Bargwanna and Garth Tander celebrate victory at Bathurst in 2000.

GRM DRIVER & CAR HONOUR ROLL

YEAR 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 50

DRIVER(S) Steven Richards Steven Richards Jason Bargwanna, Garth Tander Garth Tander, Jason Bargwanna Garth Tander, Jason Bargwanna Garth Tander, Jason Bargwanna Garth Tander, Jason Bargwanna Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup Garth Tander, Cameron McConville Cameron McConville, Andrew Jones Lee Holdsworth, Dean Canto Lee Holdsworth, Dean Canto Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso Michael Caruso, Alexandre Prémat Scott McLaughlin, Alexandre Prémat Scott McLaughlin, Robert Dahlgren Scott McLaughlin, David Wall Scott McLaughlin, James Moffat Garth Tander, James Moffat Garth Tander, James Golding James Golding, Richie Stanaway

ENDURANCE CO-DRIVER OR PART-TIME ENTRANT Jim Richards Jason Bright, Jim Richards Steven Richards, Jim Richards, Cameron McLean Greg Ritter, Matthew Coleman, Steve Owen Greg Ritter, Tim Leahey Paul Dumbrell, Leanne Ferrier Jamie Whincup, Max Dumesny, Mark Noske Nathan Pretty, Allan Simonsen Nathan Pretty, Allan Simonsen Dean Canto, Lee Holdsworth, Phillip Scifleet Greg Ritter, Phillip Scifleet, Cameron McLean Greg Ritter, Cameron McLean Greg Ritter, Steven Ellery Greg Ritter, David Besnard Greg Ritter, David Besnard, Patrick Long Greg Ritter, Marcus Marshall, Simon Pagenaud, Augusto Farfus Greg Ritter, Scott McLaughlin, Jack Perkins, Ricky Taylor, James Hinchcliffe Greg Ritter, Jack Perkins Alexandre Prémat, Greg Ritter Alexandre Prémat, Chris Pither David Wall, James Golding James Golding, Richard Muscat Chris Pither, Richard Muscat Chris Pither, Michael Caruso, Richard Muscat, Dylan O’Keeffe

CAR Holden VR Commodore Holden VS Commodore Holden VS Commodore Holden VS/VT Commodore Holden VT Commodore Holden VX Commodore Holden VX Commodore Holden VX/VY Commodore Holden VY Commodore Holden VZ Commodore Holden VZ Commodore Holden VZ/VE Commodore Holden VE Commodore Holden VE Commodore Holden VE Commodore Holden VE Commodore Holden VE Commodore Holden VF Commodore Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Volvo Polestar S60 Holden VF Commodore Holden ZB Commodore Holden ZB Commodore

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Holdsworth in the rain at Oran Park Raceway in 2007; a strategic gamble giving Michael Caruso the win at Hidden Valley Raceway followed by a recovery from a spin to the podium at Bathurst for Holdsworth and Caruso in 2009; and a race win for Holdsworth at Sydney Olympic Park in 2010. The tide turned for Garry Rogers Motorsport with the arrival of teenage sensation McLaughlin, who just hours after winning the Dunlop Super2 Series title was given his solo main-game debut with the team at Sydney Olympic Park in 2012. With the introduction of the Car of the Future rulebook and the VF Commodore in 2013, McLaughlin and Garry Rogers Motorsport had the chance to impress in a season when the playing field had been levelled. McLaughlin won on home soil at Pukekohe Park Raceway, just six races into the season, to become the youngest winner of a race in the championship’s history. Another win at Queensland Raceway and a top 10 in the standings rounded out an impressive first season. The stakes were raised the following season with Garry Rogers Motorsport partnering with Volvo and its performance arm Polestar to field the Volvo Polestar S60 Supercar in 2014. The new package delivered immediately with McLaughlin finishing in second in the second race of the season in Adelaide following an intense last-lap dual with Whincup. McLaughlin took multiple pole positions and four wins for fifth in the championship in 2014. After a 2015 season punctuated by reliability troubles, the Volvo bounced back in 2016 with two race wins and third in the championship for McLaughlin. But hopes McLaughlin and the Volvo could net Garry Rogers Motorsport a breakthrough championship win ended when the Swedish manufacturer pulled out of the category suddenly. Not only did Volvo depart, it took possession of the S60 Supercars, leaving Garry Rogers Motorsport scrambling for the 2017 season.

The team returned to Holden with two VF Commodores, while McLaughlin departed for DJR Team Penske and Tander returned for a second stint with the team. Tander scored one podium over the course of the 2017 season, but the need to upgrade to the ZB Commodore for 2018 proved costly. While Tander added another podium, the fallout of the late Volvo withdrawal, two consecutive seasons of upgrading to new Commodores and the departure of key sponsors had taken its toll. In the midst of this challenging time was a welldeserved championship win in the Dunlop Super2 Series for Chris Pither in 2018. Boost Mobile came on-board as title sponsor in 2019, though the decision to replace Tander with Richie Stanaway robbed the team of vital experience. With Boost Mobile owner Peter Adderton in

DEBUT 1996 Eastern Creek Raceway BEST CHAMPIONSHIP RESULT 2nd (Garth Tander, 2000) BEST BATHURST 1000 RESULT 1st (Garth Tander/ Jason Bargwanna, 2000) RACE WINS 23 POLE POSITIONS 25 PODIUMS 68

BELOW: Scott McLaughlin and the Volvo Polestar S60 were a winning combination for three seasons.

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BY THE NUMBERS

The 2000 Bathurst 1000 win is the highlight of Garry Rogers Motorsport’s time in Supercars.

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GARRY ROGERS MOTORSPORT

disagreement with Supercars over cost cutting measures and the strain of recent years evident in the team’s results, Rogers opted to withdraw at the conclusion of 2019. “The Supercar business to me, I do it because I love doing it… it’s not a big financial gainer of any kind,” says Rogers. “We make some money some years, we lose some money some years, but we enjoy it and I enjoy it because of the people I do it with. “I went to Supercars and requested an extension of a week or two to perhaps put a business plan together where we would stay in the Supercar business, but they rejected that.  “Supercars have tried, without success, to curtail the costs. They have not done a good job of that, and certainly we as a team cannot afford to keep doing it the way the rules are currently structured, so we just had to decide what we were going to do.” On reflection, Volvo taking possession of the Volvo Polestar S60 Supercars led to an inevitable downturn. And with two consecutive seasons of preparing new Commodores leading to Triple Eight Race Engineering becoming the homologation team for the ZB Commodore, Garry Rogers Motorsport’s in-house manufacturing business model was rendered ineffective. “When Volvo exited and weren’t here anymore, we had to work out what we were going to do,” explains Rogers. “Then, of course, we went back to the Commodore program and we were able to do that utilising our own resources and our own people. “We didn’t really have to do much other than do the hard work, but then when the introduction of the ZB Commodore came along, things became different. “The homologation system really went to Triple Eight; there became special occasions where you could and couldn’t buy your goods, could you use your own people, could you do this, could you do that. “You can only do it to a certain extent, so really we had to then decide what we were going to do.” As Rogers reflects on his time in Supercars, the two periods of success with Tander and McLaughlin were the highlights. “I think the highlights to me were obviously our Bathurst win in 2000 and then I probably think the Volvo program,” says Rogers. “Certainly Scotty’s lap with Whincup at Adelaide, but when Volvo went that was the end of an era. “That Volvo situation highlighted to me 52

“THAT VOLVO SITUATION HIGHLIGHTED TO ME THAT WE REALLY HAD THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT, THE RIGHT PEOPLE, THE RIGHT PREMISES AND WE WERE ABLE TO MANOEUVRE WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO TO GET THINGS TO WORK THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME.” – GARRY ROGERS that we really had the right equipment, the right people, the right premises and we were able to manoeuvre what we needed to do to get things to work the majority of the time. “It exemplified to me that the people here were very good at what they did. Not always with great success but in most cases with good success, being proud of what we did. “They were able to design things, engineer, make things… but we were able to do all of that, not only design it though but then get it to work. Build the cars, test the cars, get the aero right and do all of those things. “If you think back, there’s a lot of things that came into play with the regulations; no one liked the car and we couldn’t this and we couldn’t that. “But, anyway, the fact is we persevered and we got it done.” As Garry Rogers Motorsport moves on with its other motorsport programs, its legacy will live on in Supercars with the drivers who were given their break in the category with the team at the peak of their powers. Drivers such as Richards, Tander, Bargwanna, Whincup, Holdsworth, Caruso, McLaughlin and more are amongst the

graduates of the Garry Rogers Motorsport school. “He brought in so many good people over the years, not only drivers, but fantastic workers in the sport who have gone on to bigger and better things,” reflects McLaughlin. “He’s not afraid to give people a chance. That’s one thing I’ll always be incredibly grateful for from Garry. “When I first met him, I was terrified of him, but when he realised I could half-steer, he gave me a chance. “It was basically a six-month deal. Garry could have gotten rid of me at any time, but once I won my first race there was a threeyear contract on the table. “That’s how he works. He gives you a chance but not too much rope, so you’ve got to dig in and really do something. “One thing he taught me that has stayed with me through my career is that you get what you’re given. “No matter if you have a bad car or a good car or whatever, you drive that thing as hard as you can. “What will be will be. That’s how I’ve tried to carry myself; to make the most of my bad days, and a lot of that is because of what Garry taught me.”

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11/11/19 6:55 pm


TEKNO AUTOSPORTS

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WORDS John Bannon IMAGES Peter Norton, Tekno Autosports

After three lean years following victory in the 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, change is on the way for Tekno Autosports in 2020. A cash injection by the New South Wales government will see the team relocate to Sydney with 2010 champion James Courtney the marquee signing. But will it spark a return to the front-end of the grid?

T

ekno Autosports team owner Jonathon Webb was prepared to join stalwart Garry Rogers Motorsport on the sidelines in 2020 and just “sit on the beach and walk away from Supercars for a while.” The single-car operation had been one of the success stories in the main-game paddock a few seasons back, finishing in the top five in the championship for four straight seasons – three with now Red Bull Holden Racing Team star Shane van Gisbergen and one with 23 Red Racing’s Will Davison, who claimed a memorable Bathurst victory alongside Webb in 2016. But since then it’s been lean pickings. From running at the

front and winning the Great Race, Tekno Autosports has been languishing at the back of the grid in more recent seasons. “My wife and I sat down a couple of months ago and deadline day was coming up in October,” says Webb. “We thought we’ll work out what we want to do and we said if it’s going to go the way it has the last year or two, we didn’t want to do it. “We’ve been chipping away at a few things in the background. It was the right opportunity at the right time, with the right driver, with the New South Wales government and the whole collaboration we’ve been able to put together.” With Supercars and the New South Wales government looking for a team to relocate to Sydney, more specifically at Sydney Motorsport Park, the opportunity presented itself for Webb to return to the city where he grew up with his Tekno Autosports team. SUPERCAR XTRA

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TEKNO AUTOSPORTS

The team will commence operating from a Sydney facility ahead of the first event of 2020. It will then relocate upon completion of a new building at Sydney Motorsport Park as part of the $33 million investment by the New South Wales government. “It was the whole package with the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC) and Sydney Motorsport Park,” explains Webb. “It’s a government facility and government supported. They wanted to grow the Sydney base, they wanted a stronger motorsport presence in New South Wales, and we look forward to being able to work with them on doing that.” Webb adds that a number of parties were around the table putting the deal in place. “There’s been a bit of to-ing and fro-ing,” he says. “Supercars have obviously been well and truly in the middle of it as well. So it’s a group effort. “It wasn’t something that a one-man band was going to get up and running. It’s the NSW government, ARDC, Supercars, ourselves, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to where it is now.” As a Sydney boy himself and with a significant Supercars supporter base in Australia’s largest city, where a night event is now locked in on the calendar, Webb reveals that he’s been trying to put a Sydney team together for some time.

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ABOVE & BELOW: Tekno Autosports won Bathurst in 2016, a far cry from the team’s more recent form. LEFT: Jack Le Brocq makes way for James Courtney at Tekno Autosports in 2020.

“Four or five years ago we had a good push to try and get it up and running then,” he says. “There was talk and whispers about what we’ve been able to do now. It was on the cards, but it wasn’t the right time for us, it wasn’t the right time for government and it just didn’t pan out at the time. But there’s no doubt that it’s been in the back of our head ever since, and if the opportunity was there we’d love to grab it. “When we were thinking about it and drumming up the idea, it makes as much sense, if not more sense, now than it ever has.” The Webbs also have historic links to the ARDC and Sydney Motorsport Park precinct, with Jonathan’s father Steven previously sitting on the board. Webb is optimistic about the new venture and wasn’t too concerned about some of the criticism levelled at this new opportunity. “I saw some of the press conference with the owners group [at Bathurst] with Betty [Klimenko] saying Sydney doesn’t work,” he says. “I think they are overthinking it a little bit. I’ve been around for long enough. I’ve done this for 10-odd years now. I’ve seen the ups and downs. I understand the business side more. I started as a mechanic when I was 15, so I understand that side of it as well. “I also know Sydney, I grew up there for 20 years. So I think I’ve got my head around most of it as well and the people that are around to support me. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not going to be that hard either.” Webb also sees this as an opportunity to tap into finances and resources already coming out of Sydney that support the sport. “Sponsorship is extremely tough at the moment,” he admits. “When you look at marketing budgets that spread across the country, I think something silly like 70 or 80 per cent comes out of NSW. “At the moment, all that money is being spread around the country, so why not keep it in-house? And, now, we’re right on their doorstep.” On paper it looks like an attractive deal, but the team faces a tight turnaround to deliver a competitive package for the 2020 season.

Once again, Webb is optimistic that all the pieces will come together. “I’m not going to say that it’s going to be easy, but again I don’t think it’s overly complicated,” he says. “Ninety per cent of the stuff I’ve got, even digging around the shed most of the stuff I have for two cars is still there. It’s still ready and available to use. “We might need to dust a few extra bits off, add some extra staff members, but other than that take our B-double truck from Newcastle and park it in our shed in Sydney and get ready to go racing.” As Webb alludes to, after six seasons as a single-car operation, Tekno Autosports is planning to expand to two cars. “It doesn’t hurt moving to two cars,” he says. “Once you go about it the right way, there are some pros and cons about both. If it’s done right, you can win a championship with either model.” And with the team looking to expand, employing more people, including some Sydney locals, is on Webb’s radar. “There’s plenty of guys and girls up and down pitlane and a handful of good guys and girls that aren’t currently in pitlane,” he says. “It’s not an easy industry for staff, but at the end of the day it’s not rocket science. It’s still a car, it’s still got four wheels. We’ll find some good, strong people to lead it and to guide it from there. “There’s a couple of core people that we want to make sure we try [and get] so we tick all the right boxes off the bat. “Then there’s a mix between the current staff who want to apply for the job and come on board versus some people who are [currently] out of the game and a couple of good NSW kids who want to go racing. “I think we can find some good locals in Sydney to grow in to motorsport if they are not already there.” Another piece of the team puzzle is the signing of 2010 champion James Courtney on a multi-year deal. It will be a refresh for the Penrith-born racer after just seven wins during his nine-year tenure with Walkinshaw Andretti United. “I am a Penrith boy, and Jon is from Sydney, so in many ways it’s a coming home for us,” says Courtney. “The Western Sydney fanbase haven’t had their own team to get behind for a long time, so I’m excited SUPERCAR XTRA

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TEKNO AUTOSPORTS

“CERTAINLY, FROM MY END, THERE IS NO REASON WHY WE CAN’T GET BACK TO THE RIGHT END WITH THE RIGHT DRIVER.” – JONATHON WEBB to work with the Webbs and their partners to build something new. “Together, with the right partners and equipment, we’re going to work hard to make Sydney proud.” The two have worked together in the past, as stablemates at Dick Johnson Racing in 2010 when Webb ran his license alongside the two at the iconic Ford team. While Courtney won the title that year, Webb scored a remarkable win in the rain in Sydney on the same weekend Courtney clinched the championship. “James and I have known each other forever since we drove together,” says Webb. “We stayed in touch every step of the way. He obviously likes the idea of the Sydney move as a Sydney boy. After nine years at Walkinshaw, it was time for a change. I still rate ourselves as a strong team. “We’ve done a lot of good things in the past, and we’ve still got a Triple Eight car. We’ve still got the relationship with Roland Dane and everything we do there. Certainly, from my end, there is no reason why we can’t get back to the right end with the right driver.” But with Courtney set to turn 40 during his first year of this new partnership, time will tell if he is the right man to return Tekno to the front. Webb certainly has his back. “I think there are a lot of things there that work well with the group and with James,” Webb says. “He won a championship back in 2010 and he didn’t fluke it; he was seriously competitive. “He was driving for Dick Johnson Racing, but again in a Triple Eight car with Triple Eight support. He’s still done a really good job in what seems to be a tough environment down there with Walkinshaw. “They’ve had their ups and downs. I think there is no doubt that he still has the speed. He’s probably more mature now and is probably in a better

58

headspace now compared to when he won it. I think there are multiple reasons why it should work.” With the full-time departure of fan favourite Craig Lowndes, Courtney is also one of the sport’s most recognisable faces, and that still carries significant media and marketing appeal. “Obviously we’ve made the announcement, and you wait and see what the feedback is not only from up and down pitlane with the crews and owners but see what the public are saying too,” says Webb. “He’s [James] had nothing but massive support and positive feedback, and I’ve had exactly the same.” For Webb, after deciding to press go on 2020, his attention will now turn to moving from his current Gold Coast home back to where he grew up and his motorsport journey began. “I love the Gold Coast and I’ve been there for nearly 10 years now, but I’m a born and bred Sydney boy for 20-plus years,” he says. “Other than my wife and I and the boys, the rest of the family is still in Sydney. It’s where we spend our Christmas holidays, it’s where we go for a break when we can and now we get to work there as well.”

BELOW: The 2020 season will be a reset for Tekno Autosports after a tough recent run of form.

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DAVID REYNOLDS

WORDS John Bannon IMAGES Supercars, Peter Norton

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David Reynolds is known as the larrikin of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, but there’s much more to the man with a 10-year deal locking him in with Erebus Motorsport until he’s 44 years of age.

D

avid Reynolds says smiling, “I say that between myself and my girlfriend Tahan, I’m the housewife. I do all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the domestication stuff because they are all the little things you need to get right in your own life before you start improving someone else’s life.” But, strangely, Reynolds’ light-hearted summary of his domestic situation may provide a small insight into why the 34-year-old signed a landmark 10-year deal with Betty Klimenko’s Erebus Motorsport. “I love having a clean house because for me I’ve got to start by cleaning my own little space in my life,” he says.

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DAVID REYNOLDS

“WHY WOULD I MOVE? I REALLY, REALLY LOVE WHERE I AM. I LOVE EVERYONE THAT WORKS HERE.” “For me that makes a big difference.” It’s hard not to see that long-term deal as something that cleans or clears a little space in Reynolds’ life. “For me, I don’t really like change in my life,” he says. “I’ve lived in two apartments in 15 years. I’m a bit of a routine person. I like waking up at the same time, I’m a bit of a weirdo like that. I like things regimented.” In keeping with the Albury native’s aversion to change, Reynolds doesn’t see the point in switching teams, despite the opportunities that could present, because he is happy where he is. “Well, the way I look at it is this: I’ve been in a few teams, I’ve been around the traps for a while; I could go to other teams and stuff, but what for?” he explains. “Why would I move? I really, really love where I am. I love everyone that works here; we’ve got good characters. We have some up and down times, but that’s normal in teams. I thoroughly have enjoyed every moment I’ve been with this team.” The 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner says securing longevity in a sport which is his life just makes sense. “The other reason is you see really, really good competitive drivers and they get a little bit later on in life, like Michael Caruso, as an example, he’s a good driver and ended up with nothing to steer,” he says. “What’s my purpose in life to date? I’ve

been racing for 28 years or something like that; it’s all I know!” And this desire to keep his life simple is a key driver for Reynolds. “Another reason is I don’t really enjoy all the negotiation,” he says. “And I don’t like people ringing me offering me stuff. I’m not that sort of person, I don’t like having choice; I like simplicity.” Team boss Klimenko also likes simplicity. “I got sick of writing contracts, if you really want to know,” she says. “Every two years we’d sit on a balcony somewhere and go, ‘Yeah, yeah, what do you want, what do I want,’ and it got to a stage where it was quite obvious that he was going to be around for a very long time. “We just decided that we would do a 10-year deal, and that’s why it took so long because you can’t just write a contract like that and say here you are.” Reynolds says he has two sayings about his 10-year full-time deal with Erebus Motorsport: “It was play long-term games with long-term people ala, long-term deal, Betty and Barry Ryan are good people.Plus, life is all about compound interest, whether it’s investment, relationships or business. The longer you stay with someone or something, the more you get out of it and the easier it becomes, the bigger the gain you have later in life. And that’s what this is about.”

Decade-long deals are not unheard of in sport, just unheard of in motorsport. AFL footballer Lance Franklin and NRL player Jason Taumalolo are examples of athletes who’ve inked long-term deals. “Their sport is a little bit different; their sport is a physical type of sport where you have a shelf life, where motor racing is kind of different,” says Reynolds. “You don’t have to be super fit, you don’t have to be super strong, you don’t have to be the fastest runner, you don’t have to be the fittest person. It doesn’t really matter. All you have to do in motor racing is still have the will to get up and be the fastest. It’s all a mindset.” While painted as the larrikin, he takes his racing seriously and has no concerns that he’ll slow down over the next decade. “Every contract you sign has performance clauses, and mine is no different, but I don’t see myself not being on the pace,” he says. “I don’t ever want to be of a mindset of not wanting it, not wanting to win or not wanting to be the fastest. If that changes, then that’s when I’d probably need to step back. But I raced Jim Richards when he was 58 years old and I was 21 or 22 and he hosed my arse, so the skill of motor racing or driving the car fast doesn’t really leave you.” For team owner Klimenko, she’s got no concerns either that by the time Reynolds’ deal is up he’ll be 44. “But mentally how old is he?” she laughs. “It’s not like he’s going to overdo the exercise and hurt himself. He’ll probably fall over and hurt himself before he does through exercise. Dave is chilled. There’s not a lot of tenseness about him. He’ll be the same in 10 years, and he has got natural talent. He just doesn’t like to have to work hard at anything, I don’t think. He likes to keep things simple.”

Reynolds will be hoping to be ahead of the Mustangs in 2020.

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For Klimenko, age is also just a number. “I think the youngest we’ve had was 16 in GTs and the eldest was 63,” says Klimenko. “So it’s all in his talent and what he can do. And I don’t think you can really put an age on that. Look at Craig Lowndes; you put him in a car and he’s still doing well. It’s not like he’s going to be an old fuddy duddy and needs a cane to get to the car. He’s still going to be young.” Reynolds says Erebus has been home from day one and he’s never seriously considered moving elsewhere. “If I put my racing hat on, the only other two places I’d go is to the two bigger teams in pitlane, but I don’t really see myself joining those stables,” he says. “I wouldn’t fit in their mould and they have capable enough drivers. Also, that 10-year deal makes more sense to me, because in a few years I’ll be older and people wouldn’t take on a mid-30s driver.” A modest Reynolds says they’ve managed to get the right team behind them, which has accelerated their success. “None of it has been up to me, absolutely not any bit,” he says. “Most of it has been Barry, Betty, Alistair McVean and others. There’s been a core group of about five or six that are part of Erebus today that have done the hard yards. “The biggest piece of the puzzle was

when we got Alistair as part of the team. I worked with him back in the Walkinshaw Racing days, and there was a bit of controversy around that team and they stood him down. And I said to Baz at the time, we need to get him, he’s very, very smart. “He’s been nothing but fantastic for us, unbelievable engineering talent and the processes that he brought to the team. He steered us in a much better direction than where we were going.” Reynolds believes part of its success is the small size of the team, and explains how they’ve managed to achieve success with the Walkinshaw purchased car. “It’s easier for everyone to sing the same song with 20 people than it is with 60 people, I suppose,” he says. “We started with a Walkinshaw car and we had it for a couple of rounds and we basically said to ourselves we’re doing our own thing. We’re going to build a car that no one else can go and buy, no one else. We can’t sell parts, so that’s when we had our own upright, our own roller system, our own shocks. We completely trended another way compared to most other teams. It’s a very Erebus thing to do.” Reynolds says while he is happy now, he hasn’t always been happy in the Supercars paddock, but wouldn’t pinpoint exactly when. The latter half of 2015 was a

challenging time in the public eye. Reynolds was widely criticised for calling the car of the all-female team of Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie a “pussy wagon” at Bathurst. Reynolds was fined by Supercars for the remarks, which former Supercars CEO James Warburton described as “disgraceful”. And, then, later that year losing his drive at Prodrive Racing Australia. “To stay in this game long term you got to see the positive side,” he says. “A few years ago, I was quite negative about my mindset, I was quite negative about fans and certain situations. I was negative at signing sessions and when talking to a lot of people. It can take it out of you, but if you change your mindset and think about it in a positive way it becomes so much easier, and that’s all you have to do. It sounds really, really simple like it’s not worth anything, but it’s a huge difference in someone’s brain whether they can deal with the pressure or deal with a signing session. “Something so small can change your mindset and you become a much happier and easier person to be around. Obviously, you can’t do it all the time and your day to day mood plays a role. But if you look at it retrospectively, it’s a very good job; I get to do what I love, I get to hang out with people I enjoy hanging out with. It’s not all smooth sailing, but most of the time it is.”

Reynolds has formed a close bond with Betty Klimenko and her husband Daniel Klimenko.

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2019 MARC 2 MUSTANG

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For sale is an Australian delivered 2011 Porsche 997 Series 2 GT3 Cup Car. History in Carrera Cup, GT3 Cup Challenge and Production Sports with eligibility into GT3 Cup Challenge until 2022. Car as following: Chassis = 22,000kms Engine = 10,600kms Gearbox = 1,400kms since refresh Clutch = 200kms Drive Shafts = 2,200kms Brakes / rotors = 1 meet old Car has endurance gearbox upgrade, Hollinger differential, auto bleep, 3 sets of wheels, air spike, wheel socket and 5 sets of 80% slicks. Some spares. A proven car with strong pedigree. No damage. Perfect chassis. Inspection welcomed. ... FOR CONTACT DETAILS, MORE INFORMATION AND PICS:

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Nissan SR20DET block fitted with Darton HD sleeves, Custom TCR main Girdle, TCR 4140 main caps, NITTO Stroker Crank, 19mm “I” Beam rods & AGE 625 bolts, JE Pistons (ceramic coated), TCR Custom dry sump kit and pan, P11 VVL head, Supatek oversized valves, Kelford Beehive springs and Ti retainers, Turbo X-Trail Cams, TCR low mount manifold, GT35-X Gen 1 turbo, 44mm Tial MVR gate (housing mounted) Hypertune Inlet, 1600cc injectors, Hypertune Intercooler Nascar radiator, Haltech ECU, ACT CroMo twin plate 7.25” clutch, Tractive RD906 sequential gearbox, TCR CV/CV tail-shaft, Nismo diff. Running on E85 - 550RWHP @ 23psi Boost Chassis - Seam welded body, 10 point custom cage, TCR Carbon/Kevlar doors, bonnet, boot, front bar, splitter and wing, MCA suspensions...

Tempero XJ13 replica. All aluminium hand crafted body, 5.3 litre Jaguar V12 fuel injected, Autronic ECU, ZF transaxle, dry sump. This car is the best spec you can get with fresh 390 hp engine, fresh brakes, beautiful body, excellent paint. Tempero is reknowned as the finest hand built replica made... FOR CONTACT DETAILS, MORE INFORMATION AND PICS:

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FEBRUARY 2020

TOP

SHOOTOUT

seven rounds and finished in the top three in every race.

10

4

3

7 ALLAN MOFFAT, 1977

Moffat had a near-perfect season with the Ford XB Falcon GT/XC GS500 in 1977, winning the title with victory in seven of 11 rounds in front of teammate Colin Bond. The Moffat Ford Dealers duo went on to score a famous one-two formation finish at Bathurst, led by Moffat.

10 MARCOS AMBROSE, 2004 6 DICK JOHNSON, 1981

Ambrose claimed a second consecutive championship win with the Ford BA Falcon for Stone Brothers Racing in 2004, winning 11 of 26 races, including sweeps at the season opener in Adelaide and the finale in Sydney.

9

JIM RICHARDS, 1985

Richards dominated in the first season of the Group A era with the BMW 635 CSi in 1985, winning the first of his four titles. The New Zealander won seven of the 10 rounds, including six in a row.

8 PETER BROCK, 1974

Brock was in a league of his own in 1974, winning his first of three titles for the Holden Dealer Team with the Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 and LH SL/R 5000. Brock won five of

Johnson overcame the heartbreak of crashing out from the lead at Bathurst in 1980 to win the first of his five championships in 1981. Racing with the Ford XD Falcon, Johnson defeated Peter Brock in the championship with five wins from eight rounds before going on to win at Bathurst.

5 GARTH TANDER, 2007

Tander’s sole championship win came driving the Holden VE Commodore with the HSV Dealer Team in 2007. He won 15 of 37 races, including a run of five in a row early in the season to set up his title.

4 MARK SKAIFE, 2002

championship with victory in more than 50 per cent of the races (15 of 29). The factory Holden driver then went on to win Bathurst, completing back-to-back championship and Bathurst doubles.

3 JAMIE WHINCUP, 2008

Whincup’s record-breaking run of seven championships for Triple Eight Race Engineering began with the Ford BF Falcon in 2008. Despite missing the Hamilton round following an accident in qualifying, Whincup won the title with 15 wins from 34, including a third consecutive win at Bathurst.

2 CRAIG LOWNDES, 1996

Lowndes set a then record for most race wins in a season in a remarkable rookie year driving the Holden VR

Commodore for the Holden Racing Team in 1996, winning 16 of 30 races. He continued his winning run in the endurance events, taking victory in the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 alongside Greg Murphy.

1 SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, 2019

McLaughlin broke the record for most race wins in a season with four rounds still to go in 2019. The DJR Team Penske driver, in the new Ford Mustang, built up an unassailable lead for his second consecutive championship win, taking six wins in a row across four events in the middle of the season. 1

Skaife was unbeatable in the Holden VX Commodore with the Holden Racing Team in 2002, winning the

7

66

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SUPERCAR XTRA ISSUE 114

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14/11/19 1:04 pm

Profile for Supercar Xtra Magazine

SupercarXtra Magazine Issue 114  

Great Scott! The story of Scott McLaughlin's remarkable 2019

SupercarXtra Magazine Issue 114  

Great Scott! The story of Scott McLaughlin's remarkable 2019