Charlie branches out

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/11/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Charlie Schwerkolt has confirmed he will run his own single car team next year modelled similarly to TEKNO Autosports.

It was announced across the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint that Schwerkolt was breaking away from Walkinshaw Racing for 2016, as the operation scales down to focus on the two Holden Racing Team cars.

Tonight on Inside Supercars, Schwerkolt confirmed he, contracted driver Lee Holdsworth and former HRT heavyweight Jeff Grech are spearheading a single-car operation running a Triple Eight car out of Melbourne.

For Schwerkolt, being in control of his destiny and operation is important and based on the performance of other single car teams – TEKNO in particular – believes it’s possible to be successful in V8 Supercars.

“I’ve got to look at my own stability, my own direction and be in control of where I’m going, so I’m going to take the big leap and go and do it on my own,” Schwerkolt said on Inside Supercars tonight.

“Walkinshaw has changed its business model – gone down from four cars, to three cars, and now going down to two cars, so I had to look at all my options.

“I’ve been in this spot with FPR a year ago – ironically at this same place – and they wanted to go to Super Black. I had a conflicting sponsor with Fuchs oil so I thought. ‘I’ll go to Walkinshaw, great partnership’ and all that sort of stuff. Now it’s all happened again – they’ve changed their model.”

He said the relationship with Walkinshaw management was fine, with one round left to contest together, and confirmed his alignment moving forward would be with Roland Dane.

“I have a deal with Roland, I’ve bought a Triple Eight car, one that’s running out there somewhere, it’s exciting.

“We’re putting a team together like Tekno has, a satellite operation … they do it well, Shane [van Gisbergen] has been up there all the time. It’s only a small team so that’s sort of the way I want it.”

With a small group, it’s crucial to have the right people in place, which Grech is helping attract.

“We’re looking for the best possible people to get – I’m not saying where they’re from or anything like that – but it’s all about the people.

“You’ve got to get the best equipment, get the best people and build a nice, very small team. There’s not going to be a lot of us, but I want the best of the best.”

A Triple Eight car is more than enough to keep Holdsworth happy.

“Every driver wants to drive a Triple Eight car – they’ve won the last six championships, and obviously one with DJR in 2010 with Courtney, so Lee’s goal is to drive one of those cars and he’s got his wish,” Schwerkolt said.

On the Inside Supercars panel, Holdsworth expressed his excitement about the development.

“I’m absolutely pumped – Charlie and I are both very excited,” Holdsworth said.

“I feel like we’re both in this together, doing a little business venture.

“We’re getting some good guys … Charlie is very good at picking the right people – obviously!”

Holdsworth recorded a top 10 result in Auckland, but has been unable to finish higher than seventh this season. He’s hoping for more consistency next year.

“Like Tekno, when they have a bad race they’re ninth or tenth and that’s what you want when you’re trying to finish the best in the championship,” he said.

“A good weekend, they win some races, have a bad weekend, and are at the back of the ten.

“At the moment we have a bad weekend and we’re well down the back.”

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