The lure of Bathurst key to Dane's comeback

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 06/10/2022
  • By James Pavey

Roland Dane didn’t need much convincing to return to team management, given his “soft spot” for Bathurst.

Dane has returned to the paddock in an official manner at Mount Panorama.

He will manage the Triple Eight Race Engineering wildcard driven by Craig Lowndes and Declan Fraser.

It comes after Dane departed the team as a shareholder and team principal at the end of 2021.

This weekend’s event won’t be Dane’s first event in 2022.

Back in May, Dane stepped up to lead the SunEnergy1 Racing crew at the LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour.

The car, skippered by local driver Kenny Habul, went on to win the race.

Dane with Lowndes and Whincup on Wednesday

Dane answered the call to lead the wildcard by Jamie Whincup, who took over Triple Eight operations.

However, while the 12 Hour breathed life into his comeback, Dane said it wasn’t the only reason.

“I enjoyed doing the 12 Hour, but it wasn’t the catalyst for coming back,” Dane told Supercars.com.

“Jamie asked me… and I’ve got a rather soft spot for Bathurst, it must be said.

“[The 12 Hour] stands on its own two feet; I enjoy it as an event, and it was great managing the car with Kenny.

“I’m happy to be back here again, this race means a lot to me.

“It’s a great crew of guys and girls here, and we’re hoping to do it all justice.”

'I’ve got a rather soft spot for Bathurst'

Dane oversaw all eight of Triple Eight’s Bathurst wins, the first coming in 2006.

Triple Eight’s Supercars team was born out of Briggs Motor Sport in late 2003.

It would be in 2005 where momentum truly began, with the signing of Lowndes key to the team’s fortunes.

Fast forward 17 years, and Lowndes is still part of the Triple Eight family.

Dane and Whincup helped surprise Lowndes, who is celebrating his 300th ATCC/Supercars round start.

At the recent pre-Bathurst test, Lowndes and Fraser both explained how Dane's presence has lifted the wildcard programme.

"Roland is his usual self,” Lowndes said.

“Making sure we’re millimetre perfect, whether that’s us pulling up in the pit bay, or whether it’s the brake pad changes or our refuelling pit stops.

The Danes are a fixture of Triple Eight

"It’s nice to have him at the helm - he knows what we need to do outside of the car and I know what to do inside of it.

“Hopefully we come away from today with all of the boxes ticked.”

Family has also been key for Dane, with daughter Jessica the deputy Team Manager.

Long-time Triple Eight data engineer Romy Mayer has been entrusted with race engineer duties.

Both women worked on the team's wildcard last December.

It was that wildcard which helped Broc Feeney parachute into the main game once Whincup retired.

Feeney and Russell Ingall looked on for a top 10 finish before the former crashed across the top.

Dane turned Whincup into a Hall of Famer

A similar fate awaits Fraser, who like Feeney, could carry a Super2 title into the main game.

Having unearthed the likes of Whincup, Dane is excited to play another key role in another youngster’s career.

“I’m enjoying being back and working with a lot of guys that I know,” he said.

“I always like working with Craig anyway, and Declan’s a great talent.

“Declan has a bright future ahead of him, and that part alone is quite exciting.”

Cars will hit the track at Mount Panorama for Practice 1 on Thursday.

Tickets for the Repco Bathurst 1000 are available on Supercars.com and Ticketek.

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