POLL: Did Triple Eight make the right call on SVG’s replacement?
Monday 16th October, 2023 - 3:39pm
Following Shane van Gisbergen’s Bathurst 1000 win, questions have been asked as to whether co-driver Richie Stanaway should have been his replacement in 2024.
Now, we put that to you, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
Will Brown will move to Triple Eight Race Engineering at season’s end when van Gisbergen leaves for the United States and a career in NASCAR.
Stanaway will enjoy a return to full-time Supercar competition next year, although at Grove Racing rather than in the Red Bull Ampol Camaro being vacated by his compatriot.
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Speaking shortly after they shared victory in the Great Race, van Gisbergen remarked that he would liked to have seen Triple Eight opt for Stanaway as his successor.
“He should probably be in this thing next year, but he’s still in a good team,” declared the new three-time Great Race winner during his television interview.
It was hardly a mere off-the-cuff comment considering SVG’s response in the press conference which followed when invited to reflect on their status as just the second all-Kiwi duo to take victory in the Bathurst 1000.
He reiterated during that answer, “In some ways, I wish he was replacing me in that car.
“I know they’ve got a capable driver replacing, but I was secretly hoping Richie would get the drive.”
Peter Adderton would say much the same, in typically direct style, on the Speedcafe Podcast.
He asserted, “If Roland [Dane, former Triple Eight Team Principal] was running that team, Richie’d be in that car.
“I think they made a huge error, a huge mistake.”
Adderton would say that, one might retort.
The Boost Mobile chief is a maverick – in business and in sport – and a long-time backer of Stanaway; he is hardly impartial.
But does he have a point?
Stanaway was one of the quickest and most consistent co-drivers at Mount Panorama, and gave up little ground when he went head-to-head with championship leader Brodie Kostecki from the Lap 42 restart until both pitted on Lap 64.
Of course, he also looked a superstar when a co-driver at Tickford Racing in 2016 and 2017, winning the Sandown 500 with Cam Waters.
What happened next was less than stellar, but one opinion from inside the paddock is that neither Tickford nor Garry Rogers Motorsport provided the environment in which Stanaway could thrive, and that is a position taken by Adderton too.
Brown, though, also has a strong case for the Triple Eight seat.
During the time that the Banyo squad was looking for a new driver, the Queenslander took over the championship lead from team-mate Kostecki.
He has been far from his best since then, and implicitly admitted that he was in a poor headspace during a tough weekend at The Bend.
The Sandown 500 looked to have been a source of redemption when Brown scored pole but a late off the next afternoon cost him a podium, and a crash in qualifying at Mount Panorama put him on the back foot.
However, the 25-year-old was capable of putting together title-winning campaigns at junior levels – Formula 4, Toyota 86, and then TCR Australia – and was quick out of the box in Super2 in 2017.
One theory put to Speedcafe is that being a 25-year-old was significant in Triple Eight’s decision; he is more than six years Stanaway’s junior yet, so it is said, is comparable with respect to performance.
Is Brown’s recent run just an aberration? His future team would certainly hope so, and it may well prove to be the case.
Triple Eight is the Supercars squad which has managed to get the best out of Stanaway, after all, so why not Brown also?
But, what do you think? Did Triple Eight make the right decision on van Gisbergen’s replacement, or did they already have their man under their nose? Cast your vote below, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.