Erebus Motorsport team owner Betty Klimenko has made a public apology to DJR Team Penske and called for calm following a social media furore.
Last week the Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan made headlines in the Daily Telegraph after an incident with DJR Team Penske boss Ryan Story.
Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard had been involved in a press call with one of the team’s sponsors at a cricket venue in Darwin.
Barry Ryan commented “who cares” on a Facebook post of the pair playing cricket, which led to a response from Ryan Story.
“We all work hard to activate value for our partners so we can keep going racing,” wrote the DJR Team Penske part owner.
“I would never post a comment like this on a similar Erebus initiative. Never.”
After the Daily Telegraph shared the story about the ‘online spat’, McLaughlin criticised the ‘negative’ news in a social media post of his own.
Now, Klimenko has responded and called for calm on social media after “cruel statements” were directed at Barry Ryan, herself, and the team.
She said the criticism was unjustified while its team makes sacrifices to ensure the Supercars season continues unabated.
“I would like to send my apology to all DJR Team Penske crew, drivers and fans alike,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“The statement ‘who cares’ was uncalled for and the appropriate apologies have been sent. I have communicated with Ryan Story and the matter has been put to bed.
“‘Who cares’ was an internal joke that slipped out of the bubble, and as a team, we are very sorry for this.
“But what I am not sorry for is my team, my drivers, or my fans. My team do not deserve the cruel statements being said about them on Facebook, I do not deserve the cruel statements said on FB.
“I wear big girl pants and I can take whatever you say about me. But my team has been travelling since July, going from one isolation bubble to the next.
“They have not seen their families, and won’t see them until mid-October. So to those who want to say something or put my team on the chopping block, say it to me, put it on this page with your name.”
Klimenko came to the defence of Ryan who she described as a “man with a golden heart”.
She cited the recent efforts of the team, led by herself and Ryan, to produce personal protective equipment for hospitals and health care workers.
Under its Erebus Medical umbrella, the team produced over 10,000 individual pieces of PPE, which included perspex boxes and face shields.
“He cares about his team and left his wife and daughters to make sure this sport keeps going for you,” she added.
“He cares about his team and drivers, he sacrifices for his team and drivers, and if he is a bit rough around the edges, a bit loud or crass, or whatever it is that pisses you off, then deal with it.
“The man saved my team when it needed saving. He picks me up every time I am thrown under a bus, he has more strength and humility than most people.
“This is the man who delivered shields to hospitals, while most sat at home safe in their bubble. This is the man who behind the scenes, works tirelessly to make this sport more affordable.”