Respected motorsport veteran Steve Hallam has completed his final race with TEKNO Autosports, leaving V8 Supercars and Australia to work on Toyota’s motorsport programs in California in the United States.
The Englishman made his mark with TEKNO in 2014, guiding the small team to second in the Championship that year, after running the Holden Racing Team from 2012-13.
News of his departure was broken on tonight’s episode of Inside Supercars by News Ltd’s V8 Supercars writer James Phelps.
Hallam described the opportunity with Toyota as one he couldn’t miss, but was positive about his four years in V8 Supercars and wouldn’t rule out a return to Australian shores in the long-term future.
He thanked TEKNO team owners Jonathon and Kobe Webb for their support and said he had enjoyed going in to work every day.
“It has been, for me, an absolute pleasure to work with those guys and girls, they really are super people,” Hallam said.
“I’ve been presented with one of those opportunities that is very hard to turn down.”
During his time in the sport, Hallam has also been part of the select few to work behind the scenes on Gen2 development.
“Working with … all of the V8 people has been an absolute pleasure. It’s complemented my work at TEKNO and I think we have, in Australia, an absolutely wonderful, very colourful and attractive touring car series.
“I’m always getting emails from both the US and the UK saying ‘what fantastic racing you’ve got, how good is it’ … so our reach is growing and we should embrace that.”
Though he pinpointed wins at the challenging Gold Coast circuit with star driver Shane van Gisbergen and team owner Jonathon Webb in 2014 and ’15 as highlights, Hallam found being part of a friendly but fiercely competitive racing community the best part of the job.
Being part of van Gisbergen’s rise was also a privilege: “He is a great driver and to have been a small part of his career has been a pleasure.”
V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton commended Hallam on his work in the championship.
“They broke the mould with Steve, a true gentleman of the sport with incredible intellect, experience and a voice of calm certainty,” Warburton said.
“He has made a huge contribution to the sport in a short period of time and we wish him all the best for his new exploits with Toyota.”
TEKNO Autosports wishes Hallam all the best, with Webb sad to see him go, but confident about moving forward with new-for-2016 driver Will Davison.
“Steve brought a lot of experience and expertise into our business – I’ve learnt a huge amount [from him] and so has everyone in the group,” Webb told v8supercars.com.
“As much as it’s a disappointment to see him leave, I think we’re all excited to step up to the next level, fill that spot and show ourselves and everyone else up and down pit lane we’re still a force to be reckoned with and we’re pushing on.”
Long term team members, crew chief Steve Greer and engineer Dr Geoff Slater, will share the majority of Hallam’s team manager duties, with Webb also set to step back in and take on whatever is required.
“From my point of view I have a massive amount of faith those boys will be able to continue the job that’s needed for this weekend and the rest of the season,” Webb said.
“We will make sure we give Will whatever we need to win races, and put on a good show for the sponsors.”