Team culture vital piece to the puzzle

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/04/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

While the drivers are the stars of V8 Supercars, they are only as good as the team of people who get them on the grid and in a position to race for the podium.

That was the message from 2010 V8 Supercar Champion James Courtney, defending Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert and rookie Ash Walsh, as they dissected the importance of team culture on Tuesday night's episode of Inside Supercars.

A strong, collaborative and focused crew can give a team the winning edge when challenging for podiums and championships - a formula that one team in pit lane seems to have perfected through their seven-year reign of the team's championship: Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The Holden Racing Team has endured an extensive, multi-year rebuild to return the factory Holden outfit to its halcyon days, with Courtney declaring earlier this season HRT is now in the position to pry the championship from Red Bull Racing Australia.

Team boss Ryan Walkinshaw mirrored Courtney's sentiment, telling v8supercars.com.au that the "team spirit and culture is at a level I've never seen in this place," following their back-to-back Clipsal victory this year.

For Courtney, part of the team's renewed spirit is the existence of mutual trust between driver and crew.

"For me, it's the confidence in the guy standing beside you that he can do the job you want him to do, and that he has the confidence in you," he said on the Inside Supercars panel.

"It's like any good business, you need to be surrounded by the right people, it's not just one person. A lot of people forget and see us on the podium and think it's all the driver, but back at the workshop there's 60 to 70 guys and girls that are working really hard for us to get it."

"It's not just the drive to win, but it's also the 100% in the people standing beside you that they can do their job and they want it as much as you."

2014 Bathurst Champion Chaz Mostert endorsed Courtney's comments.

The 23-year-old debuted in the Championship with Dick Johnson Racing part way through the 2013 season, before he moved to powerhouse team Prodrive Racing Australia to replace the departing Will Davison.

The young Queenslander's Bathurst win last year allowed Prodrive keep the Peter Brock Trophy on their shelf for another year after he backed up teammate Mark Winterbottom's 2013 Bathurst win - a perfect way to reward the long-serving members of the team, he said.

"Those guys had been trying a decade to get that trophy. They got it with Frosty last year and then [in 2014] for everything to fall in to place again and get it back to back - obviously not with the same driver but with the same team - was an awesome achievement for all the guys there," Mostert said on the show.

"In our team, we actually have guys that have been working there for 10 years just trying to get that trophy."

Mostert has since enjoyed a pleasant relationship with his Ford Pepsi Max Crew teammate Mark Winterbottom, and credits their healthy competition as a driving force for their on-track performance.

"It's a fantastic partnership I have with Frosty. We work very close together and we actually have a really good friendship off the track," he said on the show.

"I don't have too many other friendships with any of the other drivers but this is the first time in any category I've been in where I've been quite close with a teammate.

"He's a fantastic driver and I'm learning a lot off him."

In his maiden season as a full-time V8 Supercar driver, Walsh said it was important to build rapport with his Erebus Motorsport V8 crew to ensure on-track success.

"I think it's really been about trying to get comfortable with the team, which I felt like I did straight away," he said.

"You spend a lot of time at the workshop with the guys getting to know all of the engineers, the mechanics, everybody who is a part of the team.

"I feel really comfortable with the team and it's been actually easier than I expected, in terms of getting comfortable with them."

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