Klimenko considers future plan

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Erebus Motorsport V8 team owner Betty Klimenko is considering a comprehensive multi-year plan designed to make the team consistently competitive, cut costs and define its identity more strongly.

The plan is the work of veteran V8 Supercars and motorsport engineer Campbell Little, who has been brought into Erebus as a consultant, and Barry Ryan, who runs the team's GT, V8 Ute and Academy programs but also has extensive V8 experience.

Erebus announced only last month thatLittleand Ryan would be taking roles in the V8 Supercar team's activities, but the two men had been auditing the operations of the team for some months.

Klimenko was delivered the plan about two weeks ago by the two men, who act as an informal executive management group for the team alongside CEO Ryan Maddison, who is now concentrating on the commercial and administrative side of the business.

"We have effectively offered to Betty plan A, B, C, D and E and said it comes down to how much you can commit in the short term," Little told v8supercars.com.au.

"We have a short term plan to keep the thing rolling to the end of the year and then it's a case of what's our next plan, our next plan and our next plan. So a lot of that has been presented and we are waiting for a little bit of feedback on what her version is ... but there is stuff happening already."

Little said he had confidence that Klimenko was keen and committed to improve the team's performance.

"There are three relatively simple versions; get it consistently competitive, take some cost out of it and make it hers rather than ex-SBR or whatever else it might have been sort of blended or melded into.

"There is enough money there to do the job; she has said it is there and it is there for a long time. And we have got to try and make it better than what it is. So there is a commitment."

Erebus Motorsport V8 was born out of Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) and debuted in 2013, running three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs with the approval of AMG Customer Sports. The team dropped back to two cars in 2014 and won its first race courtesy of Lee Holdsworth at Winton.

It also signed category superstar Will Davison in 2014 and began its own engine program. In 2015 its deal with AMG expired and was not renewed. Foundation team manager David Stuart left mid-season to join V8 Supercars while Ross Stone retired at the end of the season.

An engine upgrade flowed into the cars earlier this year and Davison won his first race for the team at the UBET Perth SuperSprint early in May.

Little said he still had much to learn about the team's personnel, but was impressed by what he had seen so far.

"The skill levels of the staff are good enough we just have to maybe make better use of them and try and extract some of that from them."

Little said the departure of Stuart and Stone had impacted on the team's performance and progress.

"Some people were pushed up from underneath who were stepping up and trying to do the role but had no experience in it," he explained. "And that's the biggest issue; they don't know what they are looking at even when it comes down to budgets and what things should cost and how things are.

"A lot of them had never been outside the organisation so they didn't know, they just kept doing it the way they had bene told, taught or had experience with.

"So we are just bringing some of that (outside experience) along really."

And Little said it was important that Klimenko became more heavily involved in the operations of the team and that her emergence would aid the team's move on from its SBR roots.

"When I first looked at it I described her as a Claytons owner. She owned it but someone else ran it and she almost didn't know what was going on.

"So we are trying to involve here a whole lot more; this is it, this is what it costs, this is where the people are and what is your view of it?"

Little made his first appearance with the team at the NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint last week. Originally planned to be there in an observational role, he took over as the role of Ash Walsh's race engineer from Wes McDougall, who had to leave the event for personal reasons.

McDougall, who is also technical director of the team, is likely to be away for some weeks which means Little is expected to temporarily take over the role.

"It has its plusses because it makes me get more immersed into the detail rather than the bigger picture," Little explained.

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