V8 Supercars

Analysis: The Rise And Rise Of Tekno Autosports

Monday 4 March 2013 7:00
By: V8 Supercars

TEKNO Autosports pathway to V8 Supercar success has been as impressive as it has been rapid.

In the space of three years the team has gone from a single-car entity associated with Dick Johnson Racing to a two-car powerhouse with two top drivers and capable of regularly challenging – at least based on the recent weekend’s form - the series’ leading outfits.

Shane van Gisbergen’s triumph in the Clipsal 500 Adelaide at the weekend was the team’s maiden success in V8 Supercar competition, and ended one of the longest stretches of domination by just two teams in series history.

It took 36 races for a non Triple Eight or Ford Performance Racing team car to score a race win – Rick Kelly’s wet-weather Sandown victory in November 2011 the last time another team tasted success.

Led by figurehead Steve Webb and the international expertise of former Euro open-wheel team boss Bruce Jenkins, the team has rapidly become one of the series top outfits by making smart decisions and investing wisely.

Smart recent expansion from Jonathon and Kobe Webb has seen the team expand it's commercial and racing operations - all contributing to what looks a long-term base for success.

Tekno’s main-game V8 Supercar career commenced with a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing in 2010. Having raced with the team in the 2009 endurance races, Jonathan Webb ran as a satellite entry from within the famous Queensland outfit and finished 13th in the championship in the process.

The highlight came with a stunning, somewhat fortunate win at the season-ending Sydney 500 – Webb avoiding the chaos when a sudden rain shower sent a substantial number of the field, including key title contenders James Courtney, Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom, into the barriers.

Their first steps towards forming their own, independent outfit came at the end of the 2010 season when Tekno ended their ties to DJR to establish their own operation for the following season.

Using the same Ford Falcon, the team endured a challenging season with their single entry finishing 21st in the championship, though Webb did score a strong best result of 4th – again scored at the season-ending Sydney street race.

A change of brands in 2012 was the next key step that brought the outfit closer to their Clipsal 500 winning position this past weekend; switching from Ford to Holden with a pair of Triple Eight Race Engineering-built VE Commodores.

It was a bold move - the decision to purchase two new cars coming just one year out from the introduction of the Car of the Future regulations, ensuring they would only get one year out of them before being forced to purchase two new cars.

It was a significant investment, though one that would ultimately deliver longer-term benefits by bringing the team closely into alignment with the top team in the sport.

Tekno expanded to two cars, drafting in speedy West Australian driver Michael Patrizi to steer the second entry.

Webb finished a career-best 12th in the V8 Supercars championship, aided by a string of ten top-10 finishes from the final 12 races of the year. Patrizi finished the year 18th overall and the team sixth in the teams’ championship – ahead of substantially more experienced outfits like Kelly Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport.  

Of course, what happened next is still very recent racing history.

After months of speculation, the team confirmed Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen would team with Webb in a two-car team, bringing the young Kiwi into the sport that he walked away from at the end of last year.

When van Gisbergen took the chequered flag yesterday to record the team’s first victory as its own entity, it completed one of the quickest and most impressive rises by a V8 Supercar team since the mid 2000s.

That team? Triple Eight – who went from relative back marker to title contenders in a very similar timeframe.  

It seems appropriate, then, that Tekno continue to utilise Triple Eight-built cars in this exciting, new era for V8 Supercars.

But if the rise and rise of Tekno Autosports over the last three seasons is any sort of form guide, selling them cars might be a decision that the champion team regrets come the final round of this season in December.

Because Tekno are here, and if the Clipsal 500 is any indication - they are contenders.

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