Albert Park: WPS Racing pre-race notes

STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE Stepping up to the plate is something I am pretty conversant with. I am a fairly motivated person who takes most things very seriously...When one considers the adversity faced by the team over the past three months...


Stepping up to the plate is something I am pretty conversant with.

I am a fairly motivated person who takes most things very seriously...When one considers the adversity faced by the team over the past three months and the result we delivered at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide at the weekend, I can only but be impressed...There has been a lot of speculation about how we came together and why? What we have been doing since and how we are going to go into the future? And how long it will last? Well let me put an end to some of the scuttlebutt and rumours here and now--.

Mark Larkham will lead WPS Racing into the future. As the head of Motorsports, he has the history, the capacity and the knowledge. He is hands-on as the Managing Director of that business...He is a significant shareholder, believer and put his money where his mouth is...He leads a management committee which oversees a group of committed motorsport professionals whose role is to develop WPS Racing into the most significant Independent Motorsport team in this country.

There were many decisions made over the last six months...Not all critical...but most were ...There was a lot of agonising, a lot of sleepless nights and many, many hours contemplating if we had in deed made the right decisions....I am still not certain all of our decisions were right...However we can take some solitude knowing we have turned a corner...

The pressure was on...and on everyone...There have been no free rides and the pain at times has been immense.

The integration of two teams which, for all intensive purposes, had failed to deliver during the last season or so, was the most difficult task - A task which has been undertaken with some difficulty, lots of argument and a heap of ego...Yet at the end of the day the Management Committee, headed by Larko, has, in my view, done a sensational job...And they should be recogonised for their respective efforts...Shane ( Angry ) Gore, Keith ( Everything is easy ) Evers, Craig ( I am late ) Hastead and Adam ( Tonto ) Perry....Went about the task of building WPS into a team with the potential to win...Most recommendations to the board have been sensible and most of them valid....None of the menial...They have at all times kept focus on the end game and every recommendation made was with the intention of giving WPS potential.

To conduct the task at the level these guys have, given the fights we have encountered, is nothing short of astonishing...After giving Dick Johnson the idea of establishing a financial services company and helping Steve Chalker gain a board seat, DJR went about poaching as many of our staff as possible....mixed with media speculation that Larko had gone broke and I was the most undesirable boss in pit lane, they had some success...

Facts are, Larko did not go broke. I spent half of last year convincing him to sell and create a merged outfit. We had some really good guys and a lot of potential, but we needed first grade experience...After a lot of discussion and even more understanding we made that decision in January...Sure Mark got screwed last year by former associates of mine (Then again so did I ), but there was, and has never been, any doubt of my support for Mark or my admiration for his capacity...When my former associates decided to screw Mark they handed both of us an outstanding opportunity. They just didn't realise it at the time...we decided to grab it with both hands...

There is a long way to go...Yet for the first time in a long, long time I feel we have turned the corner and are on the road to recovery. The adversities we faced in the off-season now seem irrelevant...I don't think anyone could fault either driver on the weekend...Their efforts were faultless and consistent...They knew the job at hand and they delivered for the team...And proved they are ready to take the battle to the other Ford Teams...It is important to recognise we as a team receive no funding from Ford. In fact, upon making the announcement to Ford we had decided to merge the two teams ( Out of courtesy and in respect to the 20 years Larko gave Ford) Ford went about trying to poach our sponsors...Offering them better deals as long as they didn't sponsor our new merged outfit...Proudly our sponsors stood firm and have continued to support us...I am sure we can deliver dividends to them and reward them for their loyalty...As fans of WPS, we urge you to support the people and companies that support us...Use their products where ever you can...remember we are the only TRULY INDEPENDENT TEAM IN THE SERIES...And if you want that to continue...If you want to back the underdog and be part of something very special, back our sponsors...Because without them we simply cannot do it......

Ford took back our driver cars and removed us from the race parts program...The point I make here is...Our drivers understood the proposition at hand and didn't step down...I have spoken to Wayne Cattach at V8 Supercars Australia about Ford's actions...He agreed Ford's actions were poor...Yet there was nothing he could do about it...Ford have done everything they can to take us out of the sport...Yet we will not give in...We are not here for Ford we are here for you the fans...We are racers and we intend to deliver a result for you and our sponsors...

We have been copping plenty of flack because of the media ban we have implemented...I understand the media's frustration and I sympathise with them...Yet at the end of the day I have learnt the media ( Especially In Motorsport) will make their own assessment of the situation in any case...What is real and what is not real is irrelevant...Josh Hunt's Story in Auto action late last year... to name one fantasy for your review....We therefore took the view that we are not going to fight unless it is on the track...Because at the end of the day that is all that matters....

I am proud to follow the boys into battle, proud to be part of the future...More importantly I am proud of where we have come from...I don't forget were we started from and that standing alone will make victory all the more sweater...Watching my first race from the stands was extremely hard...Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done...But I can assure you it is the first of many to come.

On a final note I wanted to thank the boys and girls that make up the team at WPS Racing...They too have had to deal with the grief and dramas of a team change and on the weekend they showed what they were made of...Our garage was the best in pit lane bar none and our stops were impeccable You are the team ...thank you.



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Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Larkham , Josh Hunt , Dick Johnson