Home' Supercar Xtra : Jun Jul 2017 Issue 99 Contents 27
Ludo Lacroix shocked the paddock when he
accepted an offer to leave Triple Eight and take
up a new post at DJR Team Penske.
Roland Dane was less than impressed with
the move at the time. He openly criticised Lacroix
and sent him on ‘gardening leave’ until his
contract was over. But the Triple Eight boss
denies he holds any long-term grudges over
“Despite what people might think, I’m
extremely pragmatic and Ludo’s run for Triple
Eight was over, anyway,” says Dane.
“He needed a new challenge and I needed to
be able to give other people the ability to move
up and Ludo represented the glass ceiling in the
hierarchy of the business.
“I was never going to be the one to instigate
Ludo going because it’s not the way I work for
somebody who’s been with us for so long.
“My only frustration, as he well knows, is that
he wasn’t straightforward and honest with me
last September, but we’ve put that behind us
and we have no problem talking to each other
“I get on and like his bosses, so I get on with
them and with Ludo. I’ve got no problem; I’ve
had several chats with him this year.”
Dane even arranged to sit next to Lacroix on
the flight back to Queensland from this year’s
Clipsal 500 in Adelaide to put any differences
they may have still had behind them.
“I might not have been as good at doing that
if he’d won that day,” smirks Dane.
“But we won that day, so... I thought it was the
right timing to be magnanimous and made sure
we were sitting next to each other on the plane,
which I don’t think he was expecting, but we
shook hands within 30 seconds of sitting down
and had a good chat.”
For his part, DJR Team Penske boss Ryan Story,
says that signing the Frenchman was never
about trying to steel Triple Eight secrets, but was
just about securing the best talent in pitlane.
“It’s easy to speculate that Ludo’s rocked up
with a briefcase full of paperwork and hard
drives of how Triple Eight have done things,
but that simply is not the case and Roland also
knows that’s not the case,” says Story
“The reality is what works with one car might
not necessarily work with another.
“Such is the challenge of development
that problems and limitations have to be
resolved on their merit and the fixes might not
“I really have to take my hat off to his
approach because it is beyond racing that
management and leadership style that he has.
It is truly, truly world class, and that is as much
a key part of the success that we’ve had to date,
just the way in which he’s brought our people
together and empowered the group of engineers
to better themselves.”
back your people, you get the right people, you attract
the right people and the rest will follow.
“You have to have the structures and the processes
in place; when a mechanic makes a mistake, it’s not
the mechanic’s fault, it’s the process and we’ve come
unstuck with some reliability issues as a consequence
of those things over time and the key failure is making
the same mistake twice... that’s what we look to avoid.
“All organisations as they grow have teething prob-
lems, but you have to have the will and the belief that
the plan is a sound one and that’s what we’ve had; that’s
really been a driving factor for us.”
Story singles out Ben Croke and Nick Hughes as exam-
ples of homegrown talent at DJR Team Penske and he
says they, along with the rest of his young team, have
blossomed under the leadership and tutorage of Lacroix.
“His ability to lead that engineering group and
empower people is nothing short of remarkable,” says
the DJR Team Penske boss.
Story believes the rivalry between his team and Dane’s
will be fierce but fair.
“To win a race in this series on merit you have to beat
24 other cars... and there are no easy beats in this cham-
pionship,” Story says.
“In the case of Triple Eight, it’s muscle memory for
them to win; they have had almost unprecedented and
unparalleled success in this championship, dating back
over a decade, and their ability to react and respond to
challenges has been shown over time to be decisive and
emphatic. They don’t like to lose. In the true sense of
great competitors, they are not good losers.
“They are respectful and Roland, to his credit, has
been one of the first to shake my hand when we’ve been
up the pointy end because he’s a gentleman after all.
“As is the nature of competitive beasts, they don’t take
being beaten by pretenders to the crown like us lying
V8X99 p23-28 Story vs Dane.indd 27
2/5/17 7:53 pm
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