Well after months of speculation and uncertainty, it was announced yesterday that I would not be driving for PRA next year. As much as I wanted to stay with the team, circumstances conspired against us continuing the relationship. Sponsorships and other commercial realities can influence a team’s make up, and unfortunately it forced us to part ways.
It’s been a big four years…perhaps the best years of my career. The chance to join what was Rod Nash Racing (RNR) back in 2012 was a very exciting opportunity. At the time RNR was a small customer team parked at Ford Performance Racing – the official Ford Australia factory team. We immediately made an impact, challenging front runners at times and even out-qualifying top teams.
There was a good team building within the business too and some cool things happened that will forever make a mark on the sport – like the 2012, Ford Falcon XR GT tribute we ran at Bathurst to celebrate 50 years of the event. The car was a stand-out, and Ford fans flocked to the pit garage to take photos. The team even brought a 1967 XR GT replica that won at Bathurst which was driven by the legendary pairing of Harry Firth and Fred Gibson. I got to meet the owners and the car even did a lap around Bathurst. I was really proud to meet lots of Ford fans and since then I’ve had a strong connection with them. Of course, we almost won that day!
In the following years I had career-high finishes, won a couple of races and finished in the top 10 on what will be three occasions out of four. The Bottle-O brand was still emerging when I joined the team, and I reckon since 2012 the brand awareness has improved. It’s so cool to see so many people wearing The Bottle-O Racing merchandise these days.
I’ll take this opportunity to thank Rod Nash for inviting me into the team four years ago. I’ll also thank all my team mates especially the mechanics who work on the car day and night and are rarely acknowledged – you know who you are guys. These guys are world-class engineers and mechanics who work longer, later and harder than anyone else. I want to also thank everyone at The Bottle-O and Metcash for their support over the years including Scott Marshall, plus all the support sponsors over the years especially Mongrel Boots who have been on the car since the year I joined.
On a more positive note, I was also able to announce that I found a new home at Erebus Motorsport yesterday. It’s an exciting new chapter for me and I have to say that I’m really looking forward to it. Betty and the team have been so welcoming that it seems like a natural fit. Betty and I have been friends for a while now and for some strange reason we have both felt that at some point in time we would work together. Driving the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG will be different to the Falcons, so too the engines and aero. But there’s a lot to like about the Erebus V8 Supercars. Take a closer look inside and you will see a unique, world-class chassis with a driver protection cell. The V8 engines are unique to Erebus and after racing them at Bathurst this year I can tell you they are a force to be reckoned with!
Erebus have been in motorsport for twenty years and have had success in various formulas. Most people will be familiar with the success the team has had in the GT series. The V8 Supercars side of the business is only a few years old, so it’s early stages for the team’s development. There’s lots of improvement ahead of the team and hopefully I can contribute to the future success and growth. A big thank you to Betty and everyone at Erebus for the opportunity.
To finish I must thank all my fans. After the controversy at Bathurst my Facebook page lit up with negative and positive comments. I read all the comments – good and bad – and accepted them. But it’s all the positivity I received from my fans that has been so encouraging. To all the Ford fans….I hope you will still follow me over to Erebus. Hopefully Frosty and I can bring a championship home in 2015 for the loyal Blue Oval fans!
Finally I want to thank all my friends and family and also my personal sponsors. TSW Alloy Wheels, Apex Steel, The Hush Dolls, Hogs Breath Café, Harley Heaven, GMX and Cannondale. Life was made easier thanks to your support and encouragement over the past few months.