BRT facing $200,000 cost spike due to REC decision

Tim Slade pilots the #3 Ford Mustang. Picture: CoolDrive Racing/Daniel Kalisz

Supercars’ decision not to award Matt Stone Racing a Racing Entitlements Contract is set to cost the Blanchard Racing Team in excess of $200,000.

As it stands, the team will have to operate its one-car team in the pit lane alone, meaning it’ll have to acquire additional staff and equipment.

The team operates concurrently with Tickford Racing, sharing a pit boom and crew with the #5 entry of Jack Le Brocq.

Last week Supercars confirmed Tickford Racing had successfully tendered for a fourth Racing Entitlements Contract (REC), taking the 2022 grid to 25 entries.

Matt Stone Racing, which had been planning a three-car expansion with its REC bid, was not given such an opportunity by Supercars.

Had Matt Stone Racing been able to expand, the Blanchard Racing Team would have likely shared a pit bay with the Yatala-based team as it does now with Tickford Racing.

It’s a decision that’s drawn the ire of Blanchard, who said he’s disappointed Supercars didn’t consider the implications it would have on his Box Hill-based team.

“The way it looks at the moment we’ll obviously be the only one-car team,” Blanchard told Speedcafe.com.

“There might be some movement in RECs in pit lane which might open up an opportunity for us, but the way it looks at the moment we’re going to have to run our own pit boom next year.

“It just adds a significant cost to our business. It’s pretty disappointing that it’s not taken into consideration when these decisions are made.

“We’re putting a lot of effort into Gen3 and a lot of great things are happening in the sport to try and reduce costs and make it more manageable and then [Supercars] make decisions like this that add significant operating costs that far outweigh any gain that Gen3 will be to our business.

“I’m obviously pretty disappointed and disappointed we weren’t involved or consulted in this decision considering the impact it has on our business.

“We share pit equipment with Tickford and obviously use a number of their guys for a pit stop,” he added.

“There’s at least another three guys we’re going to have to pay in travel costs to every event as a minimum.

“A lot more equipment we’re going to have to buy. It is a significant increase in cost to our team. From our initial analysis, it’s going to be in excess of $200,000.”

The Blanchard Racing Team has had a mixed crew in its first season. Picture: CoolDrive Racing/Daniel Kalisz

Blanchard said the decision is disheartening given the team has already spent a significant amount going out on its own.

Add to that, the introduction of Gen3 midway through 2022 will come with a substantial initial cost.

Ongoing costs in the form of staff are of the most concern to Blanchard, which he said are not feasible as a one-car set-up.

The team currently only has a handful of full-time employees, and without sharing pit crew with another team Blanchard will have to employ more staff of his own.

As it stands, two-car teams are allowed 11 performance personnel.

One-car teams paired with another team in pit lane, like the Blanchard Racing Team is currently, are allowed seven performance personnel.

One-car teams that run on their own are allowed eight performance personnel. However, Blanchard suggested even the current rules might not be workable.

“We can’t afford to put another three or four staff on full-time, but then how do we find three or four staff to come to the weekends with us that have adequate training?” Blanchard explained.

“Every other team trains regularly every week in their workshop. We’re not going to have that luxury. That’s part of the headache as well, there’s a performance side to it too.

“As I said, there might be a few changes that work for us and we’ll have to go and do a bit more analysis and homework on how we can make it work. But it’s definitely created a significant headache.

“As we sit at the moment, we could not physically do pit stops with the current personnel restrictions.

“There’s a lot of discussions to have about it, but we would probably need an exemption on the personnel limits to do our own pit stops as a one-car team.”

Blanchard said he doesn’t expect Supercars to reconsider the decision.

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