2021 saw George Commins join the Erebus ranks as race engineer on Brodie Kostecki’s #99 Commodore.
Having worked with young guns in the past during a stint at Arden International, Commins was keen for the challenge and is pleased with how the year turned out.
This was your first season with Erebus, how would you summarise the year?
GC: We obviously had some good results, we showed some potential but as a team a couple of DNF’s and pit stop dramas cost us a couple of good results. We have a couple of things to work through like making sure we nail the setup every weekend, putting together great pit stops and focusing on the reliability of the cars and if we can do all that, I think we’ll be further up.
How did you find working with a new team?
GC: It’s a great atmosphere at Erebus, it’s a very young and enthusiastic team. It reminds me of some of the teams I worked with earlier in my career, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s very much a work hard, play hard sort of environment which is a great thing to have within race teams.
Along with a new team comes a new driver. How has your relationship with Brodie developed throughout the season?
GC: Brodie and I have a lot of trust and respect in what each other says. At the start of the year we were feeling each other out to see what things we would both respond to and what we needed from each other. From Townsville onwards we had a good balance of him pushing the set up direction, while I pushed him on his driving and what he needs to do to improve. It’s probably one of the strongest driver/engineer relationships I’ve had in a long time.
It’s pretty rare that we’d see two rookie drivers finishing in the top 10 in the Championship, what do you think their results came down to?
GC: Obviously both drivers are very quick, they’ve both got good speed and I think as a team, we all worked together to improve the cars. We ran the cars very differently to how Erebus cars have been run in the past, particularly in terms of the set up philosophy and some of the ideas behind the car. I think between that and the drivers being close to maximising everything they’ve got, everytime they get in the car, it’s made a massive difference. As rookies, they don’t have any ideas about what things should be like, they are just focused on getting in the car and giving it their all so we can make the changes we need to move forward.
Brodie scored his first podium very early on, and then scored another two, including at Bathurst, so would you say that you achieved everything you wanted to this year?
GC: I think if you’d asked me that right at the start of the year, probably. Though after his Sandown performance from that point on our expectations started to change and I think we underachieved a little bit. Townsville was also hard for us, we didn’t really get the set ups right and we had a considerable amount of pit stop dramas. I think with everything, once the results start to come, your expectations change pretty quickly.
Speaking of expectations, what are you hoping to see in 2022?
GC: I think pace wise, we definitely need to pick up where we left off from Sydney and Bathurst. I think they need to be regularly in the top 5 in terms of pace in all sessions, particularly qualifying.