Team 18 to compete independently of Triple Eight in Gen3

The #20 Team 18 Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro. Picture: Shaun Tanner

The #20 Team 18 Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro. Picture: Shaun Tanner

Team 18 has gone independent for the first Gen3 season of Supercars competition after several years in an alliance with Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The Charlie Schwerkolt-owned squad fielded Triple Eight-built Commodores from 2016 to last year, and began a new customer relationship with the General Motors homologation team in 2019.

For the start of the Gen3 era, however, Team 18 has built its own Chevrolet Camaros, codenamed T18-001 and T18-002, and now it has decided that it will run them without sharing data with another competitor.

“We’re doing our own thing now; we didn’t renew that technical alliance,” Team Manager Bruin Beasley told

“We’ve got some really clever guys and at some point you’ve got to step up, stand up, and do what you think’s the best longer term.”

“It’s a good opportunity; a new [specification of] car and we’ve built them ourselves in-house,” he added.

“We’ve got really smart people that have done this thing for a long time, so sometimes we’ve just got to have a crack.

“Everything we’ve ever done, we’ve done our own thing and it’s worked out.

“There’s going to be peaks and troughs this year; yeah, we’re going to get it wrong, but other times hopefully we get it right and we did it our way.”

The premise of Gen3 means that a Team 18 Camaro should, in theory, be identical to a Triple Eight Camaro or indeed any other Camaro in the field.

On one hand, there is arguably therefore less to be gained from an alliance with the championship-winning squad given there is no (relative) exclusivity over hardware.

On the other hand, with Gen3 being a brand-new proposition on the race track, there is scope for gains from pooling data, as an ongoing alliance with Triple Eight would entail.

Ford team owner Stephen Grove, for example, is of the view that the homologation teams and four-car outfits will have an advantage in the early phase of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship because of their wealth of data.

Beasley’s perspective is, “The old-fashioned driver is still going to go better than the other one, so if you’ve got a really good driver and a good basic package, that’s still going to win races.

“You can look at squiggly lines as much as you like, but if the other driver does a better job, the squiggly lines aren’t going to help you.”

Team 18 will once again field Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom as its full-time drivers, with the highly-experienced Richard Hollway as race engineer on the former’s #20 Camaro and Manuel Sanchez filling the corresponding position on Car #18 for a fourth year in row.

“We’ve got good drivers and we’ve got good engineers,” remarked Beasley.

“Yes, they’ve [Grove Racing] got more engineers; yes, they can probably look at more stuff and do more stuff; but sometimes keeping it simple works too.

“Our philosophy this year is to keep it as simple as we can, to learn as much as we can, to do as good a job that we can, so I think it’ll work out okay.”

Team 18 completed its second pre-season test day at Winton yesterday, with Beasley reporting, “We lost a bit of time [in the] morning because we had a slight issue but it wasn’t anything major.

“We probably just lost half an hour of running, but other than that, it was good.

“We did 120 laps or something [for Car #20; approximately 90 for Car #18] and went through everything, cycled through everything; no dramas.

“We tried a lot of stuff that we wanted to try and we are where we are now.”

The Thrifty Newcastle 500 takes place on March 10-12.

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