As the team enjoy the mandatory two-week shutdown, team CEO Barry Ryan reflects on the highlights this year and looks ahead to the opportunities to come…
How would you summarise the season?
BR: “In a rank from A to E, I would say an A. An A+ we would have won the Championship, and an A is a better than ordinary effort, excelling at what you are doing, and I think that’s what we did.”
David enjoyed an impressive run of achievements. From a team perspective, which one of those results was most enjoyable for you?
BR: “Without it being a result I would say Bathurst. Having pole position and leading right up until lap 131, that was our best team effort. We were the most dominating team; to go to a track like that where everybody dreams of being fast and dominant and to do that with two cars was huge. If I had to pick one instance, it would be both cars 1-2 into turn 1. Anton qualifying 3rdas a rookie is as good as pole and for them to both follow each other for a couple laps was the moment I will remember most.”
Anton had a very satisfying rookie season. How important that it been to see him do so well?
BR: “It was huge. Even going back to Phillip Island, his and Mirko’s influence on the chassis set up at that round in particular was huge. For him to drive well enough to prove to Al and Dave that they were in a better direction, was why we got a podium on Sunday. Dave and Al could trust that if they put that setup in Dave’s car it would be faster, and it was. That was the first sign knowing Anton would deliver as a team player, and not just be another driver.”
The performance does seem to be naturally progressing. Do you expect that trend to continue next season?
BR: “I think confidence is a big thing in this game. We finished the year on a real high, for both drivers. Anton’s Sunday wasn’t the best but to qualify 6thon Saturday, get turned around and still come back to finish 11thwas a good thing to see him achieve. Sunday didn’t go so well with qualifying, but he raced around some very experienced guys and held his ground. So, in short answer, yes.”
How do your expectations compare now to the start of this season?
BR: “They were fairly high at the start of the year but what we are trying to achieve is difficult in this game. At the start of the year we were aiming for podiums, but we can now seriously consider ourselves contenders for race wins. Darwin, Bathurst and Newcastle this year we have had the fastest car. Dave could have won on the Sunday in Adelaide this year, and he didn’t believe he had the car to race Shane and made it easy for him to get past but now he believes our car is good enough he can race harder. I think the confidence and belief in everyone has grown.”
The team had incredible support this year. Is that gratifying, or does it add extra pressure?
BR: “It doesn’t add any extra pressure, it’s nice to know that people back us and believe in the team. I think that grows confidence again for the team, it’s not just us believing in ourselves, the fans and the sponsors also believe it so it gives everybody an extra spring in their step.”
The workshop shuts down now, but what does that involve? Is it a complete shut down or are there elements of the business that still tick over during that period?
BR: “The off season is a complete shut down for at least two core weeks, the main weeks of Christmas and New Year; to get everyone to recoup, refresh and be ready to go. We have a break, but our minds are still always racing, whether you’re riding your jet ski or racing up to the bar for a drink, there’s a reason we do what we do.”