BRT appointed Kate Harrington as first female full-time team manager
Harrington was taken under Tony Quinn's wing and pursued motorsport
She recently led Tickford's Super2 team, and helped main game squad
Supercars’ newest team manager, Kate Harrington, is motivated to bring fresh perspectives to the paddock in her new role at the Blanchard Racing Team.
BRT’s expansion to two cars for the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship saw Harrington, formerly of Tickford Racing, join the Box Hill squad.
In an historic appointment, Harrington has become the first female full-time Supercars team manager.
She joins the likes of co-owners Betty Klimenko (Erebus Motorsport) and Jess Dane (Triple Eight), Erebus general manager Shannen Kiely, and Nulon Racing engineer Romy Mayer as women in prominent team roles.
However, where the others are with established teams, Harrington has the challenge of helping build a team, with BRT preparing for its first season as a two-car operation.
However, Harrington — who most recently oversaw Tickford’s Super2 program, and assisted its main game squad — is ready to take the step.
“I really believed in the direction that Tim and John wanted to take the team,” Harrington told Supercars.com.
“It was a new team, quite young, fun and fresh, and it’s something I wanted to be a part of. We sat down and had a chat, and made sure our visions aligned — where they wanted it to go, where I thought it could go.
“I'm really enjoying it so far, a big thing has been ensuring everyone gels together and morale stays high.
“You don’t need any negativity, especially when you’re building a young team. A lot of us are in our 20s! But everyone already has a lot of experience, and it’s really exciting.
“Being young and female, I hope I can bring a new perspective on things, from presentation all the way through, and a different look and feel."
Harrington — who started at BRT before Christmas — went to university in New Zealand, and was later taken under the wing of motorsport mogul Tony Quinn.
It set Harrington on a path through GT racing, from Highlands in New Zealand to Australian GT, powerhouse GT squad Craft-Bamboo Racing, and then, into Supercars.
It was at Tickford, under the watchful eye of Tim Edwards and Rod Nash, where Harrington set herself on a path where she could soon have a significant influence on the Supercars paddock.
“I really grew at Tickford — GT racing is my background, it’s where I spent the last six years of my life before moving into Supercars,” she said.
“Tim and Rod were really good at helping me grow. Tim was a great mentor, and recognised I wanted to advance and progress.
“Leadership is about bringing the best out of people. We do something cool every day — I want to make sure they’re enjoying it, and that they’re at their full potential.
“I want to bring some youth to the Supercars paddock too. For example, the way I think is probably completely different to the way Tim thinks.
“I want to bring fresh ideas, and I hope down the line, other teams look at us and notice us doing things that haven’t been done before.
“We want to be approachable — when I was overseas, you could go into other garages and ask about things without hostility. I’d like to bring that here too.
"We’d like to be the team people can go to, or we can go to another team down the lane, and if we need something, everyone bands together and helps each other.”
At Tickford, Harrington quickly emerged as a key mentor for drivers of the likes of Zak Best, Declan Fraser and Brad Vaughan.
She has that opportunity again with Aaron Love, who will make his debut alongside 2010 Supercars champion James Courtney, who she believes will be a major asset for BRT.
“I'm really excited to have Aaron onboard, he’s very detailed and a hard worker,” Harrington said.
“He’s done very well in other categories before this, but this is a big jump, going from one year in Super2 into Supercars.
"We’ll need to manage his expectations and our expectations, and be realistic about this year and not put extra pressure on him.
“We want to get the best out of him, and having JC onboard is great, because he’s such a great mentor himself.”