Whincup denies Triple Eight suffering brain drain

Jamie Whincup. Picture: Ross Gibb

Jamie Whincup has denied suggestions of a glass ceiling at Triple Eight Race Engineering despite three high-profile departures from the team in recent times.

In the past 18 months, the team has suffered a brain drain of sorts with the loss of championship-winning race engineers Grant McPherson and David Cauchi.

McPherson won the Repco Supercars Championship and Bathurst 1000 as Shane van Gisbergen’s engineer before joining Walkinshaw Andretti United last year as its head of performance.

Cauchi, who won the championship twice with Whincup and once with van Gisbergen, parted company in the most recent off-season to become Grove Racing team principal.

Just last month, Matt Cook left the team to join PremiAir Racing and take on the task of team principal there.

Asked whether there was a glass ceiling at the Banyo base, Whincup replied, “It’s the nature of the beast.

“There’s always opportunity for anyone to move up within the organisation. If they don’t have the skills to be able to move to the next step, then so be it. That’s the reality of it.

“We’ve got the manufacturing facility down the road as well, which has huge opportunity and huge potential. There was opportunity there, they chose not to take the opportunity.”

Race engineers Martin Short (left) and Andrew Edwards. Picture: Ross Gibb

While Whincup spoke of opportunities for the likes of McPherson and Cauchi, the top jobs at Red Bull Ampol Racing are occupied.

Veterans Mark Dutton and Jeromy Moore hold the team manager and technical director spots respectively and look unlikely to vacate any time soon.

Whincup said there are always openings among the team’s expansive portfolio.

“We’ve always created opportunity for anyone, from engineers, to mechanics, to team managers, the whole lot.

“There’s no one with a bigger racing portfolio than what we have. We’ve got two main series cars, two Super2 cars, we’re racing Australian GT and Asian GT, sometimes we’re racing twice on the same weekend.

“We had Sepang and Winton on the same weekend. There’s massive opportunity for our crew, but we want to make sure we’ve got the 60 best people in pit lane and we feel that it’s growing and it’s getting stronger as well when we get the right people in the right roles.”

Andrew Edwards and Martin Short are Triple Eight’s current Supercars Championship race engineers, Edwards having been recruited from Brad Jones Racing ahead of this season, while Short was an internal promotion.

Team co-owner Jess Dane meanwhile has taken over from Cook as Super2 team manager.

Red Bull Ampol Racing lost the lead of the teams’ championship last weekend in Darwin but does continue to hold a tight grip on the drivers’ title race courtesy of Shane van Gisbergen.

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