The Ford versus Holden battleground of the last 20 years experienced a ‘ceasefire’ at Sandown Raceway at the launch of MTAA Super Pathways, a unique program designed to celebrate and promote the many and varied career paths available in the automotive industry.
MTAA Super Pathways was officially unveiled at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 by MTAA Super Chair John Brumby and V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton. In an industry first, Holden Racing Team drivers Garth Tander and James Courtney stood alongside Pepsi Max Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison in a bi-partisan show of support for the initiative.
“The automotive industry offers a broad and diverse range of careers that provide local, national and international career paths,” Mr Brumby said.
“The industry is at the forefront of innovation and technological change.
“Despite this sophistication, many Australians still have some old fashioned stereotyped views of the industry. The reality is the automotive industry needs to attract highly motivated people that are passionate about what they do and ready to respond to safety, efficiency and consumer demands.
“The V8 Supercar Championship celebrates technical excellence and innovation in motorsport. It was the perfect platform to promote the Pathways program.”
Given the teams are both at the top of their game in V8 Supercars, they proved the perfect link for the initiative.
“We saw an opportunity to partner with FPR and HRT – teams at the forefront of motorsport technology – to re-educate the public on the fantastic opportunities available in the industry,” Mr Brumby explained.
“As the industry super fund for the automotive industry, we believe the young people we engage at these events are our future members and they will see first-hand that MTAA Super is also at the forefront of innovation in the super industry.”
V8 Supercar CEO James Warburton said the V8 Supercar Championship and associated teams attract some of the best qualified personnel in the industry.
“Australia is one of only a few countries that has the facilities to design and produce a car from sheet to steel to dealer sale,” Mr Warburton said.
“As skills are developed and deepened around specific areas of the vehicle, so does the capacity for people to become specialists and leaders in their field.”
With the industry facing an acute skills shortage, both Holden and Ford factory racing teams are behind the program.
“Our crew is the most vital part of our race team,” Winterbottom said.
“Simply, without them, the cars don’t hit the track.
“They work hard to ensure we have the best cars possible and every FPR win is a team effort. They are the ones responsible for all the adjustments and strategies over a race weekend – it’s the stuff that gets us over the line.”
Tander agreed the MTAA program was important for educating aspiring crew members on the latest technology.
“Because the V8 Championship is so competitive, technology is always evolving and improving,” Tander said.
“There are many passionate people at HRT and their commitment to the team is amazing, but it’s important they have the skills to use the latest equipment to its full potential, to ensure our race cars are engineered to the highest possible standard.”
The MTAA Super Pathways program is on show this weekend at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, and will then move to next month’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, before the season finale at the Sydney 500.