Erebus ‘not giving up’ on Bathurst wildcard despite Brown crash

Will Brown’s battered ZB Commodore. Picture: Ross Gibb

Erebus Motorsport is “not giving up” on its Great Race wildcard entry despite Will Brown’s car being heavily damaged in a crash at Pukekohe, according to CEO Barry Ryan.

Brown’s made a heavy side-on impact with the concrete wall at pit entry on Lap 1 of Race 28 after contact with Mark Winterbottom.

Erebus is slated to field a third car at the Repco Bathurst 1000 next month, with Murphy supposed to pair up with Richie Stanaway in a wildcard entry.

However, the car earmarked for the New Zealanders is the team’s spare, and hence may need to be shifted to the #9 entry at the expense of the four-time Bathurst 1000 winner and Stanaway.

Brown diagnosed his own car as “rooted” and Murphy, who is working on television this weekend at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, expressed pessimism about his prospects of another start at Mount Panorama.

Ryan says Erebus will work through potential solutions, but is not willing to proceed with the programme in a “half-arsed” manner.

“We’re not going to give up,” he said.

“We’ve already had offers to borrow cars and stuff, but this is an Erebus project.

“We’re not putting Murph and Richie in some other car that we’ve sort of bashed together as a half-arsed car.

“Unless we’re doing it properly, we’re not doing it.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got a championship with two drivers, so the wildcard will miss out if someone needs to miss out.

“But, the problem is, we’ve got our Gen3 chassis getting built at the moment on the jig, so the timelines so tight on them that we can’t take them off, put a car on and try and fix it.

“And there’s no way this can be fixed at the workshop without a jig.

“So, I don’t want to say no yet, I never say no, but we’ll wait and see.

“We’ve got to get back to the shop and have a look properly.”

However, borrowing a jig, like Team 18 did earlier this year from Walkinshaw Andretti United, is out of the question.

Delaying the Gen3 project is also highly unlikely, given the tight timelines.

“Our jig’s a jig of its own,” explained Ryan.

“Yeah, we’ll just wait and see. I can’t say yes, can’t say no at the moment.”

He added, “Timeline’s that short on Gen3 as it is.

“Luckily, our first Gen3 car is about to come off the jig; James has actually just started this weekend building the second one.

“We just can’t afford to lose a day on that Gen3 project at the moment.

“We’ll go back to the shop see how bad it is and make a call from there.”

Calling up the ‘Mercodore’ ride car or borrowing a WAU chassis has also been ruled out already.

On the former, Ryan explained, “It’s not an Erebus car, it’s an old Merc with a pre-Commodore body.

“You could probably – like a Walkinshaw chassis – we could put it together and make it work, but we’re not going there to half-arse the project, it’s just unfair on everyone.”

Earlier, Murphy said on television regarding his wildcard effort, “I’m looking at it right now thinking that’s pretty much deadset an issue, very much.

“We were always aware that the car we were running as part of the Erebus supply of a car for us, that was their third car, so it’s interesting, the way things work out at the moment.”

Winterbottom would be issued a pit lane penalty after the clash with Brown as adjudged a driving infringement.

Practice at Mount Panorama starts on Thursday, October 6.

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