Broc Feeney’s mentor Paul Morris believes the 18-year-old has what it takes to succeed with the sport’s most successful team.
Triple Eight Race Engineering confirmed on Tuesday that Feeney will replace retiring seven-time champion Jamie Whincup in 2022.
Feeney, the current Dunlop Super2 Series points leader, will take ownership of one of the fastest cars on the Supercars grid next season.
When the 2022 season begins, Feeney will be just 19 years old, making him Triple Eight’s youngest ever driver.
Long-time Supercars driver Morris played a key role in facilitating Feeney’s remarkable rise to the main game.
The 2014 Bathurst winner first met Feeney when he was racing in the Toyota 86 category in 2018, and mentored him through his Norwell Motorplex driver training facility.
Speaking to Supercars.com, Morris tipped Feeney to rise to the challenge.
"It’s an indication of Broc's work ethic, his logical thinking and his common sense," Morris said of Feeney’s 2022 signing.
"But what Broc has done also proves that it can be done, you can take someone with a limited budget, and a fair bit of skill, and they can make it.
"I think that’s what Broc really brings to the table, so with the skill and the right attitude, you can still make your way to the top level of the sport."
Before he takes the keys to a Red Bull Ampol Racing car, Feeney shared a Supercheap Auto-backed wildcard with Russell Ingall at this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
'Roland has applied the pressure straightaway'
Feeney will be the primary driver for the Great Race, with Tuesday’s announcement likely to draw more attention to the teen’s performance at Mount Panorama.
Morris admits Feeney is already under plenty of pressure carrying the backing of Red Bull and Boost Mobile on his Super2 entry, as well as the Triple Eight’s iconic #888 number.
"Roland [Dane] has applied the pressure straightaway," Morris said.
"Broc was even under pressure when he drove the GT car, so the pressure has given him nowhere to hide since he's been with that team.
"If there were going to be cracks [in Broc’s abilities], they would have happened already.
"I think that's probably one of their key decisions in choosing Broc.”
Feeney battles Angelo Mouzouris in Bathurst
Morris also gleans Feeney, an apprentice mechanic, leans on his family’s background in motorsport.
"The best thing you can ever do is think logically and not emotionally in racing, and sometimes it's very hard to do," said Morris, who is a long-time friend of Broc’s father Paul, himself a former motorcycle racer.
"That's my best advice. Broc has enough good people around him, so if he's not quite sure what to do, he will press the pause button and ask the right people.
"Most of the time, he'll come up with the right decision without anyone having to make it for him. That's probably his biggest strength."
Feeney’s rise through the ranks has been meteoric; in 2019, he became the youngest Super3 Series winner.
He currently leads the Super2 Series following a dominant display at Townsville doubleheader, winning three of four races.
Feeney with parents Paul and Sue
Away from the track, Feeney works closely with Morris, coaching aspiring young drivers at the Gold Coast-based Norwell Motorplex.
Morris, who has also mentored Anton De Pasquale and Brodie Kostecki, explained why next year will look very different for Feeney.
“His number one priority would be base racing, but I don't see it being any different to what Anton does,” Morris said.
“When we went Super3 racing with Broc, Anton was a very big part of that program.
“Anton would come to our test days, and took his driver coaching and mentoring role to another level, and that's what I see Broc doing.
“Broc’s always going to be a part of the family here and, and he still got more to learn and plenty to offer and enjoys coaching the younger generation coming through.
“The young racers really look up to Broc and enjoy that interaction, so I think that still will be a big part of what he does.
Feeney celebrates with Jessica Dane in Townsville
“Supercars racing is the next step up and there'll be less time for driver coaching.”
Morris also believes Feeney’s debut season won’t be about trying to take wins away from Shane van Gisbergen.
“His role is to go to that team and to be in a position to learn and to grow into that role,” Morris said.
“He will grow a lot with the people he's got around him and the way that programs put together at Triple Eight.
“There will be times where I'm sure Broc will be able to shine, and there will be times where he will need to work hard to stay within Shane’s range.
“I think a fair bit of why Broc is how he is, is because of his family's background and racing.
“It helps when your dad's operated at a pretty high level in motorsport.
“There's just no bullshit with them. They just understand what's got to be done.”