As we reach the middle of the season, Erebus CEO Barry Ryan takes us through some of the year’s highlights so far…
How would you describe the first half of the season?
BR: The first half of the season has been extremely positive. It feels like a team that has been working together for years and it feels like the drivers have been here for years. It’s all very easy and we can see the potential.
At the beginning of the season, you took on two rookies. How would you rate their season so far and do you think they’ve proven themselves?
BR: Taking on two rookies was bold for anyone. I personally didn’t feel it was, but most people judged it pretty harshly thinking we weren’t going to perform and we weren’t going to get results but we’ve proved them wrong. Both of our drivers have shown maturity way above their years with what they’ve been doing both inside and outside of the car. As drivers, it’s about having the whole package, not just driving the car, so Will and Brodie have been perfect for our race team.
Which result(s) have you been most proud of this season from both a driver perspective and a team perspective?
BR: Obviously a standout was Brodie’s podium at Sandown. For Brodie to get second in his second event in the main game with the team was definitely my proudest moment for him. For Will, I’d say his performance in the same Sandown race coming from 19th to 7th was very impressive, as well as his performance in Saturday’s race in Darwin.
Brodie’s podium is hard to beat, though is there another moment that you’ve found particularly rewarding?
BR: The most rewarding moment so far was being able to get Will’s car back on the track at Bathurst. A lot of people said we couldn’t fix the car, even some of our guys, even me at one point so it was very rewarding to be able to get the car back on the track.
The team has promoted some familiar faces – how is everyone settling into their new roles?
BR: B1 (Brad Tremain) stepped up as crew chief and Tom (Moore) moved into the role of race engineer. They have both exceeded my expectations so far and are doing a fantastic job. Having these two guys in our team continually kicking goals proves that promoting from within is a powerful thing. We also recruited George (Commins) this year, who has brought a hell of a lot of experience both internationally and nationally. He’s been a huge addition to the team.
How have the relationships developed between the drivers and the engineers?
BR: Our driver and engineer relationships have been developing really well. Each engineer has developed an equally close relationship with both drivers, which is a critical thing for our team. We have a group of engineers who focus on Erebus as a whole and two drivers who focus on the other car as much as their own. It gives them the confidence that if Will is faster, for example, Brodie can move to Will’s set up knowing he can drive it and get the most out of it. This is exactly what we did in Darwin on Friday night. Car #99 had a certain direction in practice that worked better than Will’s, so we moved Will’s set up closer to Brodie’s, which really helped him for the rest of the weekend. The ability to do that is a really strong thing for our team and is the reason we have multi-car teams.
How have your expectations changed from the beginning of the season to now?
BR: My expectations haven’t changed much. At the start of the year I thought we could get podiums and I still believe we can. Now I actually believe we could probably win a race by the end of the year and I think we can target fifth in the Championship; that would see us in a similar position in pit lane next year which is important to the team.
What’s needed for the team to make the next step?
BR: To make the next step to consistently win races is just ensuring the team is 100% working together in all aspects. I believe we have the cars that can do it and as long as our drivers, engineers and mechanics continue to work together, we can win races. The ingredients are all there, it’s just mixing and baking them properly.