Team Red is back on track in V8 Supercars racing as part of the plan to restore respect to the Walkinshaw empire in Australia.
A wholesale cleanout at the end of last year, the arrival of Adrian Burgess as team boss, a restructure and relocation of all HRT assests at Clayton, and a victory by James Courtney at the Clipsal 500 all reflect a giant change for 2014.
Ryan Walkinshaw says it’s the natural reaction to the failure of the team over recent seasons, and the parallel rise of Triple Eight as the hero Holden team on the country’s racetracks. “We want to win. I’m probably as pissed off as Ferrari has been over the past few years, putting money into results our huge group of fans don’t expect and we also don’t expect,” says Walkinshaw.
“Before I came onboard, the team wasn’t in great shape. That was culturally, and also the way company was managed and operated.”
Walkinshaw says former McLaren trump Steve Hallam was doing a good job of sorting through the problems, but his approach was deemed too slow.
“So when Adrian Burgess became available, it was natural to grab him from Triple Eight.”
Walkinshaw says that he is prepared to do whatever it takes, from the biggest investment program in HRT history to firing staff.
“I did the cleanout. Adrian was pretty adamant that he wanted a new bunch of people and he’s done that. Sometimes you need new people to get out of bad habits.
“The development program we’ve got in place is the biggest we’ve ever had. But at least we’re going in the right direcitioon. There are big, big changes and it’s pretty exciting.”
Walkinshaw says he wants the changes to mirror the new look on the HRT Commodores, which have the boldest livery on a factory Holden since Peter Brock’s ‘Big Banger’ Commodores.
He also says there are no excuses and he wants restore the bragging rights of Holden fans.
“At the end of the day, I’m here to f**king win. That’s what my family has always been about. Losing gives me a pretty sour taste in the mouth,” Walkinshaw says.