Burgess says Lacroix in 'difficult position'
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Holden Racing Team boss Adrian Burgess says Ludo Lacroix was in a difficult position once he decided to leave Tripe Eight for rival DJR Team Penske.
Burgess’s shift to the rival factory team for 2014 was one of the year’s biggest news stories, similarly to Lacroix’s cross to DJR Team Penske for next season.
Triple Eight boss Roland Dane brought Burgess into the discussions on the TV coverage of New Zealand, calling Lacroix “duplicitous” and saying “at least Adrian was honest” about going to another team.
The HRT managing director spoke in detail on Inside Supercars about the sensitivities of staff moving around in the pit lane.
“It’s a difficult position Ludo was in – for whatever reason he’s made that mental decision with his family no doubt to make a change in his life,” Burgess said on the Inside Supercars panel.
“It’s difficult when you leave one team and go to another, everyone tries to be professional, I wanted to come out with it early and tell RD what was going on, but then you get sent home and put in the garden for six months.
“I actually texted Ludo on weekend and asked him to come around and cut the grass for me!” he laughed.
The ‘staff silly season’ is arguably more active than the drivers’, with engineers and mechanics often taking new roles in new years – some even move with their drivers, like Phil Keed and Fabian Coulthard to DJR Team Penske last year.
“It’s a difficult situation for everyone, everyone tries to remain professional,” Burgess said.
“You’ve got to understand the team’s side, they’ve got technical IP and they don’t really want to involve Ludo in what they’re planning for the future.
“It’s just one of those situations you find yourself in every now and again.”
While driver Craig Lowndes, who was engineered by Lacroix this year has been relatively quiet on the news, he did admit the situation hurt Dane given his personal relationship with Lacroix.
“It’s not surprising, but I think it’s the way it was all delivered to everyone was probably the thing that hurt Roland the most,” Lowndes said.
“He’s had such a great relationship, Ludo wasn’t just here in Australia, he was part of Triple Eight back in the UK as well, so he’s had a long journey along with Roland in his career and growing teams, not just this team.”
Twenty-nine year old engineer John ‘Irish’ McGregor stepped up to run the car – as was planned for next year – and Lowndes explained there was still a bit to learn as they moved forward.
“We knew Irish would be on the radio – Gold Coast he stepped up, he engineered the car until the race day,” he added.
“He’s obviously got a big learning curve – and as I’ve said, we’re two meetings earlier than we predicted or wanted – but he stepped up, he made a progression.
“We sat down with Irish and said, ‘the biggest thing is to make a decision – if it’s right or wrong, make a decision, let’s try and keep moving this car forward’, which we did.”