Home' Supercar Xtra : Aug Sept 2015 Issue 88 Contents 60
“During our time at DJR we worked hard
with a good group of people that enabled us to
win the Sandown and Bathurst enduros, plus a
title for John Bowe. I was quite lucky as a week
after I started, Wayne Cattach joined to run the
business side of the team and we worked well
together as I looked after the racing.
“Our stint there gave us creditability and
provided us with an understanding of what
is required to run a professional race team.”
On Alan Jones Racing and morphing into
Stone Brothers Racing.
“Alan Jones, Jimmy and I were all sharehold-
ers in the team and we raced Ford Falcons
before we bought Alan’s share and started
Stone Brothers Racing.
“Nothing went wrong between us, I really
admire Alan and we never had a cross word
with him. He was really rated high as a driver
after winning the 1980 Formula 1 champi-
onship and he was good in V8s, so it was a
delight to have him driving in our cars.
“It was time for us to go our own way, so
Jimmy and I bought Alan’s share and created
Stone Brothers Racing for 1998 with Jason
Bright and Mark Larkham in a customer car.”
On winning the 1998 Bathurst 1000.
“It is always a good feeling to win at Bathurst.
It was a very important victory for us as
in those days you received $100,000 prize
money for the win. It made a big difference
as we were a small budget operation.
“On reflection, Brighty’s practice accident
was just one of those things as we knew we
had a quick car but it was one of those week-
end’s where he was not able to get a clear lap
and show the true potential that it had.
“Once it was rebuilt, both he and Steven
Richards were able to gain an impressive race
win for the team. We should have won it a
couple of other times over the years but it just
On signing Marcos Ambrose.
“We took a punt by signing two rookies,
Marcos and David Besnard. Marcos had done
the hard yards in Europe and had made the
decision to come back home. He was dedi-
cated to doing the best that he could and he
was a perfect fit for what we wanted to do
with the aim of achieving major success. And
right from the start he was quick and knew
what he wanted and was able to surround
himself with good people.”
On the three-peat championship wins of
2003, 2004 and 2005.
“The key to our success was engines that we
built and developed in-house. Our engines
were possibly the leaders in the field; allowing
us to make up time where our cars might not
be as good as some of the other competitors.
“In those days, teams were spending
plenty of money on their engines compared
to current times, where championship teams
expect an engine to have logged 4000 kilome-
tres before it is rebuilt. We were working on
each of our engines after every race meeting,
so it was a big expense to our budgets, but
necessary if you wanted to achieve success.
“Overall, we had a pretty strong all-round
package with our cars, plus a crew who worked
hard, allowing us to have good momentum.”
On Ambrose’s departure to NASCAR.
“I was not shocked or surprised at all when
he advised that he was leaving us. He actually
had another year on his contract with SBR
but we let him go to pursue his future motor
racing endeavours; we were fine with it.
“In fact, a couple of years earlier, we ran
Mark Winterbottom in the Development
Series. It was a two-year deal but he won the
series in his rookie year and we didn’t have a
car for him, so he raced for Larkham.
“When it became public knowledge that
Marcos was leaving, Larko asked us to stay
away from Winterbottom because he wanted
to retain him to ensure they serviced their
sponsors and other parties.
“In hindsight, we should have spoken to
Winterbottom because later in the year after
we signed James Courtney to drive for us
and Larko decided not to run in 2006. A lot
of people are not aware that I helped Tim
Edwards in securing Winterbottom for FPR.”
On the team’s post-Ambrose decline.
“Often after having a number of good years,
the only way is down. The championship was
becoming tougher and we did lose a bit of
“James wasn’t prepared to serve his
apprenticeship in the category and everyone
was telling him how good he was, and putting
too much pressure on him.”
On Shane van Gisbergen.
“We worked well together and all was fine
up until the Erebus Motorsport deal was
announced and he decided that he didn’t
want to do that gig.”
On selling the team to Erebus Motorsport.
“The timing was right. I am now 62 years-old
and Jim is seven years older than me and
during our time together we have never had
a cross word.
“At one stage when we were building a
vast number of engines, we had 62-people
working for us and we both worked progres-
sively together to gain the best results.
“We were speaking to a couple of teams and
Ryan Maddison (CEO at Erebus Motorsport)
came and had a talk to us and the next thing
you know the deal was done.
“The whole timeframe for the project
was extremely tight and the workload was
immense. It is a credit to the team members
that the cars were built and prepared for the
pre-season test day.
“From the start the engines were not good
enough and there were improvements made
during the first year and they were being
shipped back to AMG in Germany to have
work done to them.
“The engines needed more power and
better driveability; the latter was improved
pretty quickly when AMG changed the two-
butterfly plenum to a traditional eight-but-
“There is a group of good operators in the
team’s engine shop and through ongoing
development, they have gained some sig-
nificant improvements with the engines over
Shane van Gisbergen scored race wins for
SBR but the partnership ended badly.
replaced Ambrose at SBR
but never gelled with the team.
V8X88 p58-60 Ross Stone.indd 60
3/07/2015 2:29 pm
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