Triple Eight Race Engineering boss Roland Dane has made an emotional tribute to Ken McNamara of KRE Race Engines after the team recorded its 200th Supercars win.
KRE Race Engines has had a long association with the Banyo-based team dating back to the team’s inception in 2003.
Dane also paid tribute to long-standing members in the team, including Team Manager Mark Dutton, Technical Director Jeremy Moore, and Number One Mechanic Ty Freele.
Dutton and Freele both joined the team from Briggs Motor Sport when it became Triple Eight Race Engineering in the 2003 season of the then known V8 Supercars.
Moore has been with the team for almost all of its time in Supercars, bar a stint in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the LMP1- and 24 Hour of Le Mans-winning Porsche team.
Dane made an emotional tribute after Shane van Gisbergen brought up the milestone with a win in Race 23 of the season at the Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint.
“I look back on it honestly with a sense of achievement of everyone who’s been involved over that period,” said Dane.
“It’s pretty special that there are several people around in the garage today who were part of the team in Sandown in 2003, which we’re pretty much almost to the day 17 years ago from that first Triple Eight race.
“Mark Dutton and Ty Freele have both been here without a break all the way along, and then Jeremy Moore obviously had a very good sabbatical in Germany with Porsche. He’s back here as well and he was a part of that team in 2003 so there’s been a lot of good people involved.
“It would be remiss of me not to call out Kenny McNamara, who’s not here today. I get a bit emotional about Kenny actually because he’s such a rock of motorsport.
“Kenny’s been a massive part of our wins up here in Australia for over 17 years. It’s a great team of people and that’s what it takes.”
Dane made particular note of the team’s transition from being the factory-backed Ford team to the factory Holden outfit in 2010.
Jamie Whincup won both races in the Holden VE Commodore, the team scoring a one-two with Craig Lowndes in the first race of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Whincup went on a streak of four race wins, eventually winning nine races that season only to fall just shy of the championship crown to James Courtney then of Dick Johnson Racing.
Dane said the start of the 2010 season was a tumultuous time for the team, but one he looks back on fondly after the team switched from Ford to Holden.
He said that success in Abu Dhabi might not have been forthcoming if not for the efforts of McNamara.
“I really get torn between 2010 (and the) one-two at Bathurst,” said Dane.
“But the first race of that year in Abu Dhabi, not only did we win it but we had a one-two.
“One of the reasons I get emotional about Kenny McNamara is two weeks before that we had no engines. We’d had a delivery of camshaft bearings, to build Holden race engines, and the camshaft bearings were not what they should have been.
“There was a batch that was counterfeit (that) we put in the cars, and we could see straight away that we just had filings in the filter.
“So we had to rebuild engines and get them to Abu Dhabi literally at the last minute and go racing. It really does stick out as a massive achievement for the team.”
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team currently leads this year’s teams’ championship with a handful of rounds remaining.
Whincup leads the team’s charge this season and lies second behind championship leader Scott McLaughlin of the Shell V-Power Racing Team.