Home' Supercar Xtra : Feb Mar 2016 Issue 91 Contents 43
things, do things and engineer his way. So it made sense
to put them together.
“Ludo and Craig are both a bit mad and like doing
similar things. Also, Ludo has huge respect for the fact
that Craig is still quick at 41.”
In addition to expanding its on-track presence, Triple
Eight also has a significant customer base for 2016 with
Tekno Autosports continuing on and Charlie Schwerkolt
signing up. There will also be some form of relationship
with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport (LDM). In addition,
the Western Australian Kostecki Brothers Racing opera-
tion will run two VFs in the Dunlop Development Series
and Triple Eight will continue to supply various control
and other components to the category.
“We’ve always had the customer thing,” says Dane,
dismissing that as an issue. “That already goes on.”
Then there has been Dane’s recent decision to bring
new ‘silent’ partners as co-owners, including Whincup’s
Bathurst-winning co-driver Paul Dumbrell, former
Tasman team owner Tim Miles and Queensland busi-
ness identity Trinette Schipke.
Dane attributes the decision to his good friend and
business partner Derek Warwick’s cancer scare and his
own 60th birthday in 2016. It does not, however, dilute
his own commitment to his race team. That’s important
because his drive underpins the incredible success the
team has achieved.
“This is an insurance policy for the business and I
don’t really see any material changes for quite a few
years... I hope. My game plan is certainly to keep doing
what I am doing, but able to focus on some of the other
stuff – more commercial focus and so on,” he said.
Sorting backroom issues will be crucial to success,
but so will the relationship between the three drivers –
especially between Whincup and van Gisbergen. While
Whincup had established dominance over Lowndes in
terms of results and the two had formed as effective
and co-operative a working relationship as teammates
can in such a challenging environment, van Gisbergen
resets the dynamic.
Now Whincup, just turned 33, is the older, established
member of the pairing. He is van Gisbergen’s measuring
stick and target. The Kiwi has proved himself blisteringly
fast at different times with both Stone Brothers Racing
and, more recently, Tekno Autosports. He acknowledges
himself he has not been consistent and has made it clear
that is what he will be seeking in a Red Bull Commodore.
He has also noted his car will be the technical equiva-
lent of Whincup’s and pondered whether that will help
him bridge the consistency gap. No doubt he is also
wondering whether a full-spec Triple Eight Commodore
will also improve his already outstanding pace.
The on and off-track relationship between these two
will be intense and fascinating; Whincup the utter pro-
fessional versus van Gisbergen the knockabout lad who
is perhaps the most naturally talented driver in the field.
But Dane sees it from a different perspective.
“In all honesty, when you are trying to run a race team
with the objective of winning races and championships,
you are first and foremost not thinking about how the
drivers fit together, you are thinking about how the
driver fits into the team as a whole,” he says.
How Dane manages van Gisbergen will be intriguing
to watch. The Kiwi will drive anything, anywhere any
time as long as it’s got an engine and wheels. Its another
direct contrast to Whincup, who eschews outside dis-
tractions to focus on his V8 commitments.
Dane says, as much as possible, van Gisbergen’s eclec-
tic driving menu will be catered for, although he also
makes clear the increased promotions and appearance
schedule that comes with racing for Red Bull will curtail
“In as much as we can do it from a time and commer-
cial point of view we will allow him to do those (driving)
things,” says Dane.
“I don’t think there will be that much difference,
there will be some time pressures on him and I might be
harder about getting back from an overseas trip the day
before he is on-track here, but for the most part we are
already accommodating much of what he wants to do
into this year’s calendar.
And what will Whincup’s response be to this new
challenger? In 2015 he didn’t fight for the drivers’ cham-
pionship for the first time since 2006, but Dane is sure
that is just a temporary aberration rather than the start
of a trend.
“The first thing you have to remember about Jamie is
he has six championships under his belt and everyone
else who is competing has a bloody long way to go before
they overtake him,” says Dane.
“And even in terms of race wins, the only person in
the same league as him over a much longer period of
time is Craig
ABOVE: From foe to friend,
van Gisbergen joins the
Triple Eight fraternity in
“WE HAVE ENDED UP WITH PROBABLY THE
THREE BEST DRIVERS IN THE CATEGORY
WHEN YOU LOOK AT ALL ASPECTS OF
WHAT THEY DO, SO THE OPPORTUNITY
TO DO THAT IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE
SNIFFED AT.” – ROLAND DANE
V8X91 p40-44 Triple Eight.indd 43
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