Jamie Whincup will retire from full-time driving at the end of the 2021 season and replace Roland Dane as the managing director and team principal of Triple Eight Race Engineering.
The seven-time Supercars champion will become the new head of the powerhouse squad as part of a sensational managerial and ownership shake-up.
That includes successful businessman and amateur racer Tony Quinn becoming T8’s major shareholder with a 40 per cent stake, while current shareholder’s Whincup and Jess Dane will have their stakes increased to 19 per cent (from 15 per cent) and 30 per cent (from 27 per cent) respectively.
Quinn won’t have a day-to-day involvement with the team, though, with Roland Dane to continue to run things until Whincup takes over at the end of the upcoming campaign.
That will spell the end of a 19-year Supercars driving career that has made Whincup the most successful driver in the category’s history.
After being fired by Garry Rogers after his rookie season in 2003, Whincup has gone on to win 122 races, four of them Bathurst 1000s, and seven Supercars titles.
All of his race and title wins have come since he joined Triple Eight in what was meant to be the number two role behind Craig Lowndes back in 2006.
More race wins and an eighth title are well within reach this season too, Whincup expected to be one of the top contenders once again.
Whincup has been toying with the idea of retiring from driving for some time, and helped lay the foundation for a future beyond the cockpit when he bought his original 15 per cent stake in the team three years ago.
He’s yet to decide if he’ll continue as an endurance driver.
“I’ve always said that after I retire from full-time driving, I want to keep going racing and in 2018 I made the commitment for that to be with Triple Eight by becoming a shareholder,” said Whincup.
“I’m honoured that Roland trusts me to lead the family that he’s built here in Australia.
“I’ll certainly maximise every opportunity this year and beyond to learn from him and I’m grateful that he will still be dedicating a portion of his time in 2022 to ensuring the team and I have the best opportunity for success.
“I have to thank everyone who has supported me during my driving career – family, friends, fans and partners. I’ll be giving my all to making sure we deliver the best results possible in 2021.”
Dane, meanwhile, will move into a part-time advisory role, as well as continuing as a shareholder and chairman of the board of directors.
That move marks the end of a long chapter in T8’s Australian history, Dane having led the squad since it arrived in Supercars back in 2003.
He says the global health crisis has prompted his decision to move out of a day-to-day role, with plans to “enjoy different forms of motorsport” and spend more time overseas once international travel becomes easier.
“Since Jamie expressed an interest some years ago in continuing his career in motorsport with Triple Eight after he retires from full-time driving, the plan has always been for him to take the reins,” said Dane.
“He has proven himself to be an integral part of the Triple Eight family during his 15 years here and has absolutely nothing to prove on track.
“I have every confidence that he will approach his new role with exactly the same motivation, diligence and competitive spirit that he brings to the track at every round.
“COVID-19 has reminded me that I’m not getting any younger and I’m looking forward to having more time on my hands to enjoy different forms of motorsport in different capacities and spend more time with my elder daughter in the UK, once the pandemic permits.”
Quinn’s buy-in is the latest change in what’s been a moving ownership picture for T8 since Dane took over as the majority shareholder from fellow team founders Peter Butterly, Ian Harrison and Derek Warwick.
Dane then sold off roughly 30 per cent of the business to Paul Dumbrell, Tim Miles and Trinette Schipkie in 2015, before Jess Dane and Whincup were later added to the list of shareholders.
Dumbrell and Miles retained their stakes until selling to Quinn as part of this deal, which will leave Roland Dane with the remaining 11 per cent stake.
“Tony is an excellent fit for Triple Eight – he shares our passion for racing and innovation,” added Dane.
“We were flattered that someone of Tony’s pedigree was interested in buying into our business and his approach has helped us to cement our business succession. He’ll certainly be an asset to the team and we’re delighted to welcome him on board.”
Quinn arrives with significant experience and success in business through brands such as VIP Petfoods and Darrell Lea. As well as being a successful gentleman driver he previously ran the Australian GT Championship, and currently owns the Hampton Downs and Highlands Parks circuits in New Zealand.
“Since 2000 I’ve been on the sidelines of the Supercars Championship as a driver, team and category sponsor,” said Quinn.
“I’ve seen the category go through some fantastic times and also some very testing times. Throughout, one team has consistently been where any passionate race team needs to be – winning. So Triple Eight was quite an easy choice. If I’m going to make a wise investment, make it in the best structured and managed team.
“Both Roland and I are confident that the team will continue their winning ways [once Whincup takes over], and I have absolute and unwavering trust.
“There’s an old saying, ‘too many cooks spoil a good soup’. The team will do a great job without my heavy involvement. In fact, one of the attractions to me was that I wouldn’t be required on a constant basis.
“Whenever my guidance is sought though, I’ll be available. Also, if on the off-chance JW or [Shane van Gisbergen] were feeling too sick to drive, I always have a race suit handy!
“I think Gen3 can’t come soon enough and Triple Eight has been instrumental in making this happen. The evolution should deliver healthy benefits to all stakeholders of the sport, including the fans, so it’s an incredibly exciting time to be increasing my involvement in Supercars.”
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