Triple Eight Race Engineering, (branded as Red Bull Ampol Racing) is an Australian motor racing team competing in the Supercars Championship. The team has been the only Brisbane based V8 Supercar team since its formation, originally operating out of the former Briggs Motor Sport workshop in Bowen Hills before moving to Banyo in 2009. Since taking over the former Briggs Motor Sport team during the 2003 season the team has won the Supercars driver's championship eight times, the team's championship nine times and the Bathurst 1000 eight times.

The team currently runs two Holden ZB Commodores for Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen. Additionally, the team provides technical support to Team Sydney, Team 18 and Matt Stone Racing. The team performs its testing at Queensland Raceway.

Originally affiliated with champion British Touring Car Championship race team Triple Eight Racing and owned by Peter Butterly, Roland Dane, Ian Harrison and Derek Warwick, Dane later took majority ownership, with Harrison maintaining a minority shareholding.[1] In late 2015, Dane sold a ~ 30% shareholding in the team to Paul Dumbrell, Tim Miles and Trinette Schipkie.[2] In 2021 Scottish Millionaire Tony Quinn bought a 40% Share of the team.[3]


Note: *2021 Driver's & Team's Championships are provisional as season is still in progress.

History

Triple Eight Race Engineering was formed in 1996 in the United Kingdom, running Vauxhall's program in the British Touring Car Championship before expanding into Australian V8 Supercars, purchasing the Briggs Motor Sport team in September 2003.[4] The sale included a custom-built facility in the Brisbane suburb of Bowen Hills, and a staff of 35 people. Engineers in Brisbane worked closely with the Triple Eight staff in the UK to build two new Ford BA Falcons, while the team principals managed to attract substantial financial support from Ford.

Team Betta Electrical

Triple Eight won their first "Bathurst 1000" when this Ford Falcon BA was driven to victory in the 2006 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 by Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup. The car is pictured in 2018

The team debuted at the 2003 Sandown 500. 2004 was Triple Eight's first full season in V8 Supercars. It was a disappointing year for all involved, with both cars dogged by mechanical problems. Paul Radisich came 19th in the championship, while Max Wilson finished a lowly 28th. The team's car speed, however, was certainly up with the front-runners for many weekends.

2005 saw a massive form reversal for Triple Eight. Craig Lowndes and Steve Ellery were signed as drivers and Stone Brothers Racing engineer Campbell Little joined the team. Lowndes in particular was a catalyst for change, which along with powerful and reliable Stone Brothers Racing sourced engines saw a massive improvement in the team's performance. Lowndes finished second in the championship, finishing the year strongly and narrowly missing out on snatching the title from Russell Ingall. Ellery came 13th. The year's highlights included a win for Lowndes and Yvan Muller at the Sandown 500 and a third placing for Ellery and Adam Macrow at the Bathurst 1000. Lowndes won a further three rounds and qualified on pole position four times (including Bathurst).

2006 saw a continuation of this strong form, with new recruit Jamie Whincup replacing Ellery, and making an instant impact in the form of a win at the Clipsal 500. Lowndes scored four round wins, including sharing victory at the Bathurst 1000 with Whincup.

Having led the championship to Round 11, Lowndes lost the series lead at the Symmons Plains weekend. Having seen a big chunk of his lead evaporate at the previous round on the Gold Coast following two penalties for dangerous driving approaching the starting grid, the pressure was on Lowndes to perform at the Tasmania event. Unfortunately for Lowndes, he was caught in a massive crash on the opening lap of the first race, forcing him to the rear of the grid for the next race. He recovered, but he lost the series lead to Rick Kelly, who took a handy 73-point lead. At the next round in Bahrain, Lowndes stormed back into contention as Kelly encountered problems of his own. The stage was set for a spectacular finale at Phillip Island, with the two contenders separated by just seven points.

Lowndes qualified on the third row of the grid, while Kelly was further back on the fifth row. However, Kelly fought back in the first race to be right on Lowndes' bumper at the conclusion of the race – Lowndes was fourth, Kelly fifth. In the second race, Lowndes came third while Kelly was fourth – again close behind. The points going into the final race of the year were tied. On the second lap of the final race, Kelly pushed Lowndes on the rear bumper while in the high-speed section between Turns 3 and 4, sending Lowndes into a spin, eventually cleaning out both Lowndes and Todd Kelly (Rick's older brother). Rick Kelly was given a drive-through penalty and finished 18th. Lowndes' car was extensively damaged and was only able to salvage 29th place. Rick Kelly had won the championship.

However, Lowndes and his Triple Eight team protested, claiming that Kelly had deliberately taken Lowndes out of the race. The stewards, after deliberation, dismissed the appeal, saying that the drive-through penalty was sufficient punishment for Kelly. Furthermore, Lowndes and Triple Eight accused the HSV Dealer Team and the Holden Racing Team for bad sportsmanship – Mark Skaife was given a bad sportsmanship flag in Race 1 for blocking Lowndes, while Kelly's teammate Garth Tander was given a drive-through penalty for blocking Lowndes in Race 2. Some days later, Lowndes was awarded the prized Barry Sheene Medal, which was some consolation.

Team Vodafone

In 2007, the team retained the services of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes. Vodafone replaced Betta Electrical as the title sponsor. Whincup narrowly missed out on the Drivers Championship by 2 points, with Garth Tander and Toll HSV Racing Team winning the last race of the season in Phillip Island.

In 2008, Whincup won the championship, and Lowndes and Whincup won their third Bathurst 1000 crown. During the 2008 Season, it was announced at the Hidden Valley round that Ford would withdraw its support from all but two teams (Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing) on the Supercars grid from 2009 onwards. Triple Eight was one of the Ford teams to be effected by the decision, despite proving that they were the top Ford team that year and would go on to win their third Bathurst 1000 and first drivers championship as well as being the head developers of the new FG Falcon which was to be introduced in 2009. It was estimated that due to the decision by Ford, Triple Eight lost $2 million from their budget annually.

In 2009, following Ford's decision to withdraw support from all teams other than Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing, the Ford logos on the front of the cars were replaced by a stylised pink pig's head, referring to Hog's Breath Cafe, one of the team sponsors. The team ran new FG Falcons. Triple Eight Racing won fifteen of the twenty-three races staged during the championship, with Whincup winning eleven races and the championship and Lowndes taking four wins at Winton, the Gold Coast and Barbagallo, finishing the year in fourth. Due to the loss of factory support from Ford for the 2009 season. Triple Eight announced prior to Bathurst that the team would be controversially switching to arch rival Holden for 2010 onwards.

Change to Holden

In 2010 the team switched to racing Holden VE Commodores in response to the withdrawal of Ford's support, after signing a three-year deal with Holden.[5] The team also re-signed with major sponsor Vodafone for another three years until the end of the 2012 season.[6]

The team celebrated the first race of the year with a 1-2 finish with Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes respectively. Jamie Whincup won both races in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Hamilton, but lost the championship lead after troubled races at Queensland Raceway and Winton, while teammate Craig Lowndes finished on the podium several times. They also had a great result at Bathurst with a 1-2 finish with Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife and Jamie Whincup, Steve Owen respectively. Whincup finished the year in 2nd, with Lowndes in 4th.

In 2011, Whincup regained the championship from Lowndes with the team winning the Teams Championship.

During the 2012 season, Triple Eight dominated, winning 19 races including the Sandown 500 (Lowndes and Warren Luff) and the Bathurst 1000 (Whincup and Paul Dumbrell) with Whincup won the title from Lowndes.

Red Bull Racing Australia

In June 2012, Vodafone announced it would not renew the sponsorship.[7] In August 2012, Red Bull took over the naming rights for the 2013 V8 Supercars season onwards.[8]

In the 2013 season, the new Car of the Future specification cars were introduced with Triple Eight racing the new Holden VF Commodore. Whincup and Lowndes finished first and second in the championship.[9]

Lowndes is contracted until the end of 2017,[10] and Whincup until the end of 2018.[11] In 2016, a third car was added for Shane van Gisbergen, with the team purchasing a Racing Entitlement Contract that was last used in 2014 by James Rosenberg Racing.[10][12] Van Gisbergen won the 2016 championship.

Team Vortex

The team expanded to three cars in 2016, Lowndes in Team Vortex colours pictured

In 2016, Lowndes raced under the banner of Team Vortex, with Whincup and van Gisbergen under the Red Bull Racing Australia banner.

Autobarn Lowndes Racing

In 2018, Lowndes raced under the banner of Autobarn Lowndes Racing, with Whincup and van Gisbergen under the Red Bull Holden Racing Team banner.

Red Bull Holden Racing Team

The team was branded as the RedBull Holden Racing Team from 2017 until 2020

From 2017 until 2020, Triple Eight was the factory Holden team being rebranded as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.[13] The team was responsible for developing the ZB Commodore that debut in 2018. They also lead development for the expected V6 twin-turbo engine that was to be the replacement to the V8 engine in the future, all without the guidance of former technical director Ludo Lacroix. However in April 2018, Holden announced it had chosen to halt the development of the turbocharged V6 engine and that it would be sticking with its V8 layout for the time being. This meant that the scheduled wildcard entry the team was planning to enter never happened.

Red Bull Ampol Racing

Holden ZB Commodore of Shane van Gisbergen in 2021

For 2021 and beyond, Triple Eight would be rebranded to Red Bull Ampol Racing due to the Holden brand being retired at the end of 2020. This will be the first time that Triple Eight will be without factory support from Holden since joining the brand in 2010 and only the second time in its V8 Supercars history without any factory support (the last time being 2009). Ampol, formerly known as Caltex Australia, replaced Holden as one of Triple Eight's major sponsors alongside longtime partner Red Bull.

Despite the name change, Triple Eight will continue with Holden Commodores for the final time while the Chevrolet Camaro is due to make its debut in 2022 along with Gen 3. Jamie Whincup will begin his 16th and final full time season with Triple Eight while Shane Van Gisbergen will begin his 6th.[14]

Wildcard entries

The team entered an extra car at the 2013 Bathurst 1000, running under the banner of Xbox One Racing and driven by Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekström. They qualified in 18th and finished in 10th.

For the 2021 Bathurst 1000 the team will be running a Supercheap Auto backed Holden ZB Commodore which will be driven by former Super3 Champion Broc Feeney and former Supercars champion Russell Ingall.

Development series

Triple Eight have previously entered cars in the Development Series for Andrew Thompson in 2011,[15] Scott Pye in 2012[16] and Casey Stoner in 2013,[17] winning the series in 2011. Since 2014 Triple Eight has provided technical assistance to Eggleston Motorsport.[18] For the 2019 season Triple Eight have re-entered the development series, Super2. Fielding two cars for Brenton Grove and Kurt Kostecki. For the 2020 season they scaled the team down to one car driven by 2019 Australian Formula Ford Champion Angelo Mouzouris.[19] For the 2021 season they had gone back to a two car operation with Angelo Mouzouris being joined by ex-Tickford Super2 driver Broc Feeney.

Car supplier

As well as building cars for its own use, Triple Eight has also built cars for other teams. It has provided chassis for Dick Johnson Racing (2009–12),[20] Paul Morris Motorsport (2010–12),[21] Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport (2013–17),[22] Tekno Autosports (2013–present),[22] Team 18 (2016–present)[23] and Matt Stone Racing (2019).[24]

Supercar drivers

The following is a list of drivers who have driven for the team in the Supercars Championship, in order of their first appearance. Drivers who only drove for the team on a part-time basis are listed in italics.

Super2 drivers

The following is a list of drivers who have driven for the team in the Super2 Series, in order of their first appearance.

References

  1. ^ "Dane refutes Triple Eight sale talk". Speedcafe. 5 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Dane sells shares in Triple Eight". Auto Action. 1 December 2015. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ https://www.velocitynews.co.nz/tony-quinn-becomes-major-shareholder-in-triple-eight/
  4. ^ Triple Eight buys Briggs V8 team Crash.net
  5. ^ Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Racing team in Holden switch Courier Mail 29 July 2009
  6. ^ Lowndes returns to Holden Archived 2009-08-01 at the Wayback Machine "Wide World of Sport"29 July 2009
  7. ^ Lee, Julian (7 June 2012). "Vodafone dumps cricket, motorsport sponsorship". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Red Bull Australia secure naming rights to sponsor Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden V8 Supercars". Fox Sports News. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  9. ^ 2013 V8 Supercars Championship Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine V8 Supercars
  10. ^ a b "Van Gisbergen to join three car Triple Eight in 2016". Speedcafe. 6 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Jamie Whincup extends Triple Eight contract". Speedcafe. 5 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Triple Eight secures 26th V8 Supercars REC". Speedcafe. 29 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Holden commits to Supercars". Supercars. 16 August 2016.
  14. ^ https://www.speedcafe.com/2021/02/03/whincup-to-retire-take-over-as-triple-eight-boss/
  15. ^ "Dane: Thompson is the perfect choice". SpeedCafe. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Scott Pye confirms switch to Development Series". SpeedCafe. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Casey Stoner signs one-year deal with Triple Eight". SpeedCafe. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Paul Dumbrell to contest full Dunlop series". SpeedCafe. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Triple Eight signs Formula Ford champion". SpeedCafe. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  20. ^ Bartholomaeus (21 June 2010). "Fifth DJR Falcon added to its stable". SpeedCafe. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Triple Eight: Eight VEs is the limit". SpeedCafe. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Triple Eight's COTF production line at full speed". SpeedCafe. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  23. ^ "Schwerkolt confirms Triple Eight customer deal". Speedcafe. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Matt Stone Racing ditches Ford for Holden". Speedcafe. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2019.

External links