What Walkinshaw, Grove want to achieve on Supercars board
Wednesday 9th March, 2022 - 6:00am
Newly announced Supercars board members Ryan Walkinshaw and Stephen Grove are determined to ensure teams are better informed in the future.
The chief figures behind Walkinshaw Andretti United and Grove Racing, respectively, were on Saturday announced as teams’ representatives on the championship’s revamped board.
Both men offer an injection of fresh energy and ideas, having not previously held such a role.
Walkinshaw had once before turned down an approach to join the board, at the time opting to focus on his booming business portfolio and rebuilding his own Supercars team.
“I felt the timing was right [now] to put my hand up,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“Supercars did ask me if I would and I said ‘yeah I would’, and at the end of the day I hope I can add some value.
“I’ve been in professional sporting boards previously; I was on the board of Premiership Rugby for five years, I was on their remuneration committee and salary cap committee there as well so I have got a bit of experience with being on the board of a major sporting category, so hopefully that will help.
“There’s a lot of opportunity and exciting growth and potential in Supercars and I think we can do some things better.”
Being able to put the bigger picture first, ie the championship as a whole, is a promise he’s committed to.
“What I want to do first and foremost is make sure that as a team representative, I’m representing all of the teams fair and equally,” Walkinshaw continued.
“You’re never going to be able to keep everyone happy. It’s never an easy thing to do.
“But ensuring you make the right decisions for the most amount of people in pit lane is obviously going to be important, and I think making sure that communication is really good with the teams is something I really want to work on.
“I think that’s something that has been lacking previously. Making sure that everyone feels like they’re part of the journey, along for the ride, and everyone’s voices are heard, is really critical.
“And also with the fans, I have always tried to be quite fan-focused on how I think the sport should be run and I’ll try to be a bit of a voice for fans in the boardroom as well when I am being asked what my view is on certain things being discussed in that forum.”
Walkinshaw and Grove have vowed to work closely with one another on strategy, and to best be a conduit between Supercars powerbrokers and the teams.
The pair caught up on the Sydney Motorsport Park grid on Sunday and intend to meet in more depth soon.
“He is clearly a smart businessman and a lot of people that I know who I respect have said nothing but great things about him, so I am really excited to work closely with Stephen,” Walkinshaw said of Grove.
“We’ll start discussing what our strategies should be, let him know what my views are on what we should try to do, and I’m very keen to hear what his views are as well.”
Added Grove: “It’s important for the flow of information, we put a mechanism in place to make sure the information is flowing back to the teams from a board level, and the board are getting the information from the teams and that’s flowing it back to the board.”
A powerful player in the business world via Grove Hire, he hopes to bring an element of commercial prowess to the table.
“For me, it’s more about the commercial side and working on how we can best represent the teams to grow the sport,” Grove told Speedcafe.com.
“The more RACE grows the sport, the better the flow-on for us – not just from a distribution [point of view] – the issue is about growing the sport, attracting more people to it which attracts more of the punters that come and then that also attracts sponsors.
“So I’m hoping I can contribute in that area.”