Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Oct Nov 2017 Issue 101 Contents 63
at Darwin in 2016 a lot of the team effectively lived at
Triple Eight’s HQ in Queensland to build the all-new car
in double-quick time.
At the same time, the team also raced on at Townsville
and Ipswich with Kurt Kostecki in the driver’s seat of his
own Development Series Commodore. It wasn’t until
Sydney Motorsport Park that the new car debuted in
Karl Reindler’s hands and Holdsworth didn’t race again
until the Sandown 500.
“I have an incredible team of people,” Charlie said at
the time. “We have no team without the people we have
got and all the people we have through my businesses –
which are all built on fantastic teams – have all dug in.
It’s an incredibly tough time for the race crew, some are
up in Brisbane working away (on the new car), some
are in Melbourne (at the workshop). It’s bonded them
strong for sure, it’s incredible.”
Schwerkolt’s primary business role is as group manag-
ing director of the family business, Waverley Fork Lifts,
where he started work in 1976 and his diesel apprentice-
ship in 1977.
The Waverley group of businesses has its headquar-
ters in Melbourne and offices in Sydney and Brisbane,
while Charlie lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and
kids. He’s on the road constantly with business.
Moving the race team from rented space in Dande-
nong to Waverley Group’s HQ in Mount Waverley has
at least taken one destination out of his busy life.
You get an inkling of the way Charlie lives watch-
ing him at a race meeting. He is a perpetual motion
machine. One moment he is conferring with Grech, the
next with Holdsworth, after that he’s conducting a pit
tour or up in the corporate box making sure the spon-
sors are happy. Then there’s the ever-present television
and other media to deal with. Usually with a smile on
his face. Sometimes over the years, he admits, it’s been
a little forced.
“Inside there I’ve been hurt a lot in this game,” he
admits. “It’s a tough gig. But we move on, we have a lot
of fans and supporters and there’s no point getting sad.
You have to be positive and create a positive message for
everyone who is watching.”
He is the complete antithesis of an authoritarian and
distant team owner. Charlie is in the trenches, com-
“It’s all on me, decision are made pretty quick about
what we are doing and where we are going. I am hands-
on with all my businesses,” he says.
“The environment is very good, the set-up and facili-
ties are good ... and I think it’s a great plus to work in
motorsport. We all have the same passion and dream,
we all want to win and get up there.”
But as Schwerkolt ruefully concedes, the dream of
winning is pretty much just that. The reality for a small
one-car team in Supercars is that the odds are stacked
The most obvious issue is data sharing. The more cars
in a group, the more different set-ups can be tried and
cumulative knowledge built, the quicker the blind alleys
are discarded and the more promising avenues pursued.
In 2017, a year when Dunlop has introduced a new-
construction tyre and that ability to share data has
become even more important, Holdsworth and new
engineer Chris Stuckey have gone out on their own.
For financial reasons the new Team 18 Commodore
runs 2013-specification T8 Mk 4 front uprights. But
the factory cars of Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen and
Craig Lowndes are on Mk 6.5 and the set-up correlation
simply isn’t there. Paying for data would be a waste of
money Schwerkolt reveals.
“The front end of the car is the least controlled part at
the minute, which means you can try things like a new
upright. But I can’t really do much with all that at the
moment because of budget.
“It’s big money to upgrade; it’s one hundred grand-
plus to get a couple of sets of uprights.
2014: The entry remains at Prodrive for a second season.
2015: Switches to Holden with a move to Walkinshaw Racing. 2016: Goes his own way with a customer Triple Eight Holden.
“IT’S THE BEST
THING I HAVE
DONE BY FAR
BECAUSE WE HAVE
HAD CONTROL OF
V8X101 p60-64 Team 18.indd 63
14/9/17 7:13 pm
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