One to watch at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, car 9 has an interesting pairing with old hand Steven Johnson guiding V8 Supercars rookie Maro Engel in the SP Tools entry.
Erebus Motorsport V8 has morphed from former Championship winning team Stone Brothers Racing to field three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs this season. And results seem to be coming with car 4 recording a best ever finish for the new generation Mercs at the last event.
Meet the crew behind car 9, which is sure to taste success soon.
Chris Stuckey, engineer
“I haven’t had many highlights, to be honest,” Stuckey joked as his teammates laughed. “But the category growing, traveling, seeing different tracks at the international rounds that we’ve done – and obviously Bathurst – is exciting.”
The 39-year old from Melbourne was, however, working on Karl Reindler’s car – the one that caught fire on the startline in Perth in 2011 – when at Brad Jones Racing and described that as a crazy weekend. Saturday was a great result for Reindler and on Sunday, after the fire, it was the team’s first win with Jason Bright home first and Jason Bargwanna third.
Similar to many others in pit lane, Stuckey’s desire to be involved came from his father’s interest in motorsport.
During university, he volunteered with a DVS team, with the intention of working full-time in V8 Supercars. He started with Tony D’Alberto Racing in the Dunlop Series on weekends, and moved with the team full-time in 2008 when it moved to the main series.
From data engineer there, he went on to BJR to work with Reindler and David Wall, and 2013 is his first year with Erebus Motorsport V8.
Stuckey enjoys the competition side of V8 Supercars, describing the sport as intense, exciting and interesting.
Nickname: “Stuckey, that’s my surname but that ends up like a nickname as well.”
Joshua Riddle, data engineer
Riddle was standing in for the team at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 and had been looking forward to being part of an enduro after leaving V8 Supercars a couple of years ago.
Having grown up in Sydney, Riddle studied mechanical engineering at university and started in Carrera Cup and Formula Ford.
“It was a good challenge,” he said. “I got a job with Stone Brothers originally back when I was out of uni … I used to do data and fuel strategy back on cars 4 and 47, for Alex Davison and Tim Slade.”
He misses some aspects of racing, what he described as a glamorous and action-packed job. “There’s a few races in there which were real nail biters from a strategy point of view; an amazing comeback, or something really close on fuel, a few good Bathurst races I was in, and a few of the Homebush ones as well.”
While Riddle is still in engineering, his field is oil and gas. “It’s similar, it’s still got fuel involved!” the 29-year old said.
Nickname: “Probably Swanky. I like drinking scotch and going to fancy places, I guess.”
Jody Stone, number one mechanic
“I love the cars,” Stone said. “The car is the reason to be working (here).
“I grew up working on cars my whole life – and they’ve all been shit boxes, to be honest, roadies – but to be working on these is amazing.”
From Pukekohe in New Zealand, Stone said racing was in his blood. His father – Kevin, brother of Ross and Jimmy Stone, of Stone Brothers Racing – was a mechanic for McLaren “back in the golden years”.
“So I just stepped over the Tasman to Australia and straight into it.”
His first year within the team was 2003, when SBR won the Championship with Marcos Ambrose behind the wheel. Stone was working on car 4 (Ambrose) at the time, before moving to car 9 (Russell Ingall) in ‘04, which was the overall victor the following year.
“I had a pretty good first three years!” he said.
Stone said the team pushed to the edge to build the new generation V8 Supercars, which has been even more challenging considering Mercedes is a new manufacturer in the sport.
“I don’t think I could do it again! It was tough and we’re still waiting for that reward from all that hard work. But it’ll come, it’ll always come.
“It’s still ongoing, being a new manufacturer it’s tougher than other teams as well, we’re learning a lot of new things about the car.”
Chris Seidel, number two mechanic
Seidel’s first time at Bathurst is one of his highlights in V8 Supercars – and a timely one, as the Championship heads to Mount Panorama in a fortnight.
“Texas was awesome, I haven’t had many race wins or podiums – a few podiums last year with Shane (van Gisbergen)," he said. "They’re always cool to taste the champagne, but probably the biggest highlight was the first time at Bathurst, the first time racing there.”
From Adelaide, Seidel got his start at Paul Cruickshank Racing. He started at a local motorsport repair team part-time, became a traveling member and then, when PCR shut up shop, moved to the Gold Coast to work with Dean Fiore’s Triple F Racing for two years.
But when Fiore linked with DJR in 2012, Seidel shifted to Stone Brothers to work on car 9, which van Gisbergen drove.
A qualified mechanic, 25-year old Seidel followed in his father’s footsteps and has always raced karts.
Nickname: “They call me Sewer, because my last name’s Seidel – ‘suicidal’. It’s not a very nice nickname!”
Michael Calvert, tyre technician
Having worked on race cars 15 years, Calvert looks after the tyres and carbon fibre repairs on car 9 during a race weekend.
Calvert completed a panel beating apprenticeship in New Zealand and after hounding New Zealand race teams, snagged a job working on race and drag cars.
“I worked for a place that fabricated race cars for rich people!
“They had a bit to do with David John’s ride car from Team Kiwi – so I just kept hounding until they let me work for him.”
He began with TKR in 2008, before PCR the following year and SBR in 2010.
“My weekend role is tyres on 9 – I just have to do what Stuckey asks me to do, the engineer, and basically try and be as prepared as I can if it rains.
“It’s not too hard, you just make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted.
“And I do the carbon fibre repairs on the cars – I’m the traveling carbon guy – front bar repairs, anything like that, that needs fibreglassing or carbon.
“At the workshop I just do panel work, livery changes and that sort of stuff.”
Nickname: “Michelle – some guy at an airport tried to French up my name for some reason, so it’s stuck.”