Dane: What sparked Triple Eight's big start to 2024

28 Feb
'We were beaten fairly and squarely last year and therefore we used what we learned from being beaten and channeled it into doing better this year'
  • Triple Eight motivated after being beaten by Erebus, says Jess Dane

  • Erebus beat Triple Eight to both championships last season

  • Triple Eight claimed both poles, both wins at Thrifty Bathurst 500

Channelling the hurt from being “beaten fairly and squarely” by Erebus Motorsport last season was key to Triple Eight’s rapid start to 2024, says Jess Dane.

Red Bull Ampol Racing burst out of the blocks in 2024, claiming both Boost Mobile Poles and winning both races at last weekend’s Thrifty Bathurst 500.

Recruit Will Brown scored pole for Saturday’s race before being beaten by established teammate Broc Feeney, before Brown overturned Feeney’s Sunday pole to win Race 2.

Triple Eight was, however, forced to deny Walkinshaw Andretti United Ford star Chaz Mostert on both days, setting up what could be a big championship fight.

It came just three months after Erebus — led by Brodie Kostecki — claimed a championship double, leaving Triple Eight wanting after a season-long battle.

Triple Eight co-owner Dane, who accepted the teams’ trophy on Sunday, wasn’t surprised by the powerhouse team’s Bathurst performance, but said it was spurred on by last year’s defeat.

"Definitely without meaning to sound cocky or arrogant or anything, I definitely expected it was possible because that's just the calibre of this team,” Dane said on the Schick Cool Down Lap podcast.

"You know, we were beaten fairly and squarely last year and therefore we used what we learned from being beaten and channeled it into doing better this year.

“So, I definitely knew that we would come out firing, as consistently over the years we have done. At the first round, it's traditionally gone our way more times than it hasn't.

“The battle with Chaz was really cool to see. The engineers worked so well together, Marty [Short] and Andrew [Edwards] have both had a good couple of years together now. They work really well, the collaboration between the teams.”

Brown jumps Mostert to claim race lead

Dane arrived in Australia in time for Sunday’s race, having recently relocated to the United States with partner Shane van Gisbergen, who finished third in last weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brown has since replaced van Gisbergen and has hit the ground running, and Dane was delighted to have two title contenders at Triple Eight as the team aims to regain the titles it lost to Erebus.

“Seeing how well Will has settled into the team is fantastic to see as well. He kind of slips in and fits in as he does everywhere, because he's a great personality,” Dane said.

"But also I like to think over the years, Triple Eight has been really good at bringing out the best in drivers. We've made some questionable choices with our drivers over the years. We've copped a lot of flack for picking up certain drivers, especially co-drivers.

"And we've always kind of proved people wrong and brought out the best in people. And I'd like to think that we're giving Will that opportunity now.

“And hats off to Broc. This is his third season now. And to kick off in such a strong way, he's definitely marking himself. We’ve got two title contenders here, so it’s exciting season.”

Brown leads Feeney by nine points in the drivers’ standings, with Red Bull Ampol Racing 201 points ahead of Penrite Racing in the teams’ standings.

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