Erebus quashes technical alliance talk with Team 18
Erebus Motorsport has shut down the possibility of entering into a technical alliance with a rival Supercars team following suggestions of a link up with Preston Hire Racing in 2019.
Speculation regarding a potential tie up between the two teams has emerged at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint as Preston Hire Racing continues to assess all its options for next year after a difficult 2018 campaign.
Talk in the paddock escalated even further following confirmation of Mark Winterbottom’s departure from Tickford Racing with the 2015 champion heavily linked to the one car Holden team.
Erebus team principal Barry Ryan confirmed that his team has spoken to Preston Hire Racing boss Charlie Schwerkolt but has quashed the concept of technical alliances, and the prospect of running another car out of its stable.
The Melbourne squad has enjoyed a period of significant improvement over the last two years, which has seen the operation win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and transform into a regular race win contender.
This has coincided with a push to develop its own in-house technology.
“There’s been discussions, but no real (talks), just loose discussions on could we do it, would we do it,” said Ryan.
“We’ve considered it but always gone back to why we started this team, why we’re doing what we’re doing.
“It’s not to have a technical alliance or to share what we’ve got with anyone. We don’t share well, so we’re not going to share.”
Ryan said he was unaware of the talk around the paddock at Pukekohe but reiterated that the team’s view was conveyed to Schwerkolt during loose discussions.
He also confirmed that Erebus will retain its two car set up for David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale next year.
“We get on well with Charlie, we’ve had chats about lots of things about how he goes racing, how we go racing,” said Ryan when asked by Speedcafe.com about the rumours.
“There was loose chat about ‘would you do something?’ and we basically said the same thing to him.
“We don’t want to share what we’ve got, not in the short term future anyway.
“Definitely not next year, and for the foreseeable few years to come we’ve still got a lot to do in our own backyard to make sure we raise our level higher, because we’re still not operating at a high enough level as two cars.
“Bringing in another one (car in), or a technical alliance, would just cause us too much grief.”
Ryan says the thought of potentially linking with Winterbottom should the 2013 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner sign with Team 18 had not crossed his mind or altered his view.
“No, not really, because we’ve got to put our tool into someone else’s hands and potentially another team’s going to win with our equipment,” he added.
“That’s not something we want to see, it’s the last thing we want to see.
“We’ve got the two best drivers that we can get and they’ll do the job for us, not rely on another team to try and do the job for us.”
Schwerkolt declined to comment when Speedcafe.com asked about his squad’s plans for next year.
Meanwhile, Erebus currently sits fifth in the teams’ standings heading into this weekend’s penultimate round of the season in New Zealand.
Lead driver Reynolds finished second in Friday practice at Pukekohe while rookie team-mate De Pasquale was 16th.
The ITM Auckland SuperSprint continues today with Practice 3 scheduled for 1025 local time (0825 AEDT).