TEKNOAutosports pathway to V8 Supercar success has been as impressive as it has beenrapid.
In thespace of three years the team has gone from a single-car entity associated withDick Johnson Racing to a two-car powerhouse with two top drivers and capable ofregularly challenging – at least based on the recent weekend’s form - theseries’ leading outfits.
Shane vanGisbergen’s triumph in the Clipsal 500 Adelaide at the weekend was the team’smaiden success in V8 Supercar competition, and ended one of the longeststretches of domination by just two teams in series history.
It took36 races for a non Triple Eight or Ford Performance Racing team car to score arace win – Rick Kelly’s wet-weather Sandown victory in November 2011 the lasttime another team tasted success.
Led byfigurehead Steve Webb and the international expertise of former Euro open-wheelteam boss Bruce Jenkins, the team has rapidly become one of the series topoutfits 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’smain-game V8 Supercar career commenced with a partnership with Dick JohnsonRacing in 2010. Having raced with the team in the 2009 endurance races, JonathanWebb ran as a satellite entry from within the famous Queensland outfit andfinished 13th in the championship in the process.
Thehighlight came with a stunning, somewhat fortunate win at the season-endingSydney 500 – Webb avoiding the chaos when a sudden rain shower sent asubstantial number of the field, including key title contenders James Courtney,Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom, into the barriers.
Their firststeps towards forming their own, independent outfit came at the end of the 2010season when Tekno ended their ties to DJR to establish their own operation forthe following season.
Using the same Ford Falcon, the team endured a challenging season with theirsingle entry finishing 21st in the championship, though Webb did scorea strong best result of 4th – again scored at the season-ending Sydneystreet race.
A changeof brands in 2012 was the next key step that brought the outfit closer to theirClipsal 500 winning position this past weekend; switching from Ford to Holdenwith a pair of Triple Eight Race Engineering-built VE Commodores.
It was abold move - the decision to purchase two new cars coming just one year out fromthe introduction of the Car of the Future regulations, ensuring they would onlyget one year out of them before being forced to purchase two new cars.
It was a significantinvestment, though one that would ultimately deliver longer-term benefits by bringingthe team closely into alignment with the top team in the sport.
Teknoexpanded to two cars, drafting in speedy West Australian driver Michael Patrizito steer the second entry.
Webbfinished a career-best 12th in the V8 Supercars championship, aidedby a string of ten top-10 finishes from the final 12 races of the year. Patrizifinished the year 18th overall and the team sixth in the teams’championship – ahead of substantially more experienced outfits like KellyRacing and Garry Rogers Motorsport.
Ofcourse, what happened next is still very recent racing history.
After monthsof speculation, the team confirmed Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen would team withWebb in a two-car team, bringing the young Kiwi into the sport that he walkedaway from at the end of last year.
When vanGisbergen took the chequered flag yesterday to record the team’s first victoryas its own entity, it completed one of the quickest and most impressive risesby 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 seemsappropriate, then, that Tekno continue to utilise Triple Eight-built cars in thisexciting, new era for V8 Supercars.
But ifthe rise and rise of Tekno Autosports over the last three seasons is any sortof form guide, selling them cars might be a decision that the champion teamregrets come the final round of this season in December.
BecauseTekno are here, and if the Clipsal 500 is any indication - they are contenders.