Walkinshaw Racing has announced that Managing Director Steve Hallam will hand over the reins of the racing outfit early in the new year, and will be succeeded as Managing Director by Adrian Burgess.
“On behalf of Walkinshaw Racing, our commercial partners and fans, I would like express my gratitude to Steve for his dedication and incredible work,” Walkinshaw Racing Chairman Ryan Walkinshaw said.
Hallam joined the organisation, which runs the Holden Racing Team and Supercheap Auto Racing V8 Supercars teams, in January 2012.
He headed WR’s VF Commodore Car Of The Future development and build program and a restructuring of the organisation that has led to a strengthened business position and improved on-track performances for Walkinshaw Racing.
The team’s progress has been highlighted by Garth Tander and James Courtney’s 1-2 for HRT in last month’s Sucrogen Townsville 400.
“Steve was given the task of rebuilding the organisation, and in a short time he has orchestrated the VF Commodore development and build program, strengthened our management, restructured various departments and operations, and implemented a range of new processes and strategies,” he said.
“Steve will leave the team in a much stronger position and with a restored winning culture.”
Walkinshaw said Burgess’ appointment was part of a long-term future strategy and would continue to build on Hallam’s success.
“Steve and I have discussed the restructuring progress, and both his and the team’s long-term futures, and formulated a plan around those,” he said.
“We had to ensure the right long-term succession approach and with a limited field of suitable candidates, and interest from one of those candidates, we have brought forward the timeline from that which we had originally identified. Steve will continue in his role until the end of the year.
“Adrian’s experience, leadership skills and passion for winning make him the ideal candidate to continue to build on what Steve has achieved and lead Walkinshaw Racing into the future.”
Burgess is one of the sport’s most credentialed operators with Formula One Championships and three straight V8 Supercars titles to his credit.
Along with Hallam, he worked in F1 winning World Championships with drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen at McLaren.
Burgess moved to Australia in 2006 and joined Dick Johnson Racing as team manager, guiding Courtney to the V8 Supercars Championship in 2010.
He crossed to Triple Eight Race Engineering the following season where he has overseen Jamie Whincup’s back-to-back titles.
Red Bull Racing Australia has announced Burgess' departure, effective immediately.
"We thank Adrian for all his hard work and wish him good luck for his future endeavours," said a statement from the team.
"Adrian has agreed that he will undertake six months of 'gardening leave' before taking up a new post.
"In the interim, Team Owner Roland Dane will step back into the role of Team Principal of Red Bull Racing Australia, a role he has previously held with great success, winning multiple championships since 2003."
UPDATE (August 8):
Roland Dane says the team has already moved on from the shock news Managing Director Adrian Burgess will take up the same post at Walkinshaw Racing in 2014.
“I don’t want to discuss it any further – other than it’s disappointing,” Dane told v8supercars.com.au.
“I’ll get back to doing what I did for many years and run the team hands on…
“There are people coming and going in race teams, like in any sporting environment, in any company or business.
“These things happen but no one person is bigger than the team, whether they’re a driver, manager or anyone else.
“We have back-up plans to utilise.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Whincup has told AAP he doesn't believe this development would affect the team's performance on the track and agreed it was the right call to dismiss Burgess immediately once it was revealed he was heading to HRT.
"You certainly don't want to have anyone in the team that doesn't want to be there," Whincup told AAP.
"If we felt that he wanted to go to another team there's no way we would have held him back. He can go, no problems at all."