Triple Eight Race Engineering (Australia)
|Team Principal||Roland Dane|
|Race Drivers||1. Jamie Whincup
888. Craig Lowndes
|Chassis||Holden VF Commodore|
|Drivers' Championships||5 (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012. 2013)|
|2013 position||1st (6,100 points)|
Triple Eight Race Engineering is an Australian motor racing team, one of the leading motorsport teams competing in the V8 Supercars Championship. The team has been the only Brisbane-based V8 Supercar team since its formation, originally operating out of the former Briggs Motor Sport workshop in Bowen Hills, the team moved to Banyo in 2009. Since taking over the former Briggs Motor Sport team during the 2003 season the team has won the V8 Supercar Championship four times with Jamie Whincup and has won the Bathurst 1000 five times.
The team currently runs two Holden Commodores for their drivers, four-time series champions Jamie Whincup and three-time series champion Craig Lowndes. Additionally the team provides technical support for fellow Queensland-based team Tekno Autosports. The team performs its testing at Queensland Raceway.
Triple Eight Race Engineering originated in the UK, winning 12 British Touring Car Championships before the decision to expand into the Australian V8 Supercars in late-2003. Triple Eight took over the Briggs Motor Sport team which resided custom-built base at Bowen Hills (a Brisbane suburb), and employed 35 people (among them, former SBR engineer Campbell Little) to build a new pair of V8 Supercars for the 2004 season. Engineers in Brisbane worked closely with the Triple Eight staff in the UK, while team bosses managed to attract substantial financial support from Ford Australia, which has since been curtailed.
Team Betta Electrical
2004 was Triple Eight's first full season in V8 Supercars. It was a disappointing year for all involved, with both cars dogged by mechanical problems. Paul Radisich came 19th in the championship, while Max Wilson finished a lowly 28th. The team's car speed, however, was certainly up with the front-runners for many weekends.
2005 saw a massive form reversal for Triple Eight. Star driver Craig Lowndes was signed to replace Radisich, and Steve Ellery replaced Wilson. Lowndes in particular was a catalyst for change, which along with powerful and reliable SBR-sourced engines saw a massive improvement in the team's performance. Lowndes finished second in the championship, finishing the year strongly and narrowly missing out on snatching the title from Russell Ingall. Ellery came 13th. The year's highlights included a win to Lowndes and co-driver Yvan Muller in the Sandown 500, a third placing to Ellery and co-driver Adam Macrow at the Bathurst 1000. Lowndes won a further three rounds, and qualified on pole position four times (including Bathurst)
2006 saw a continuation of this strong form, with new recruit Jamie Whincup replacing Ellery, and making an instant impact in the form of a win at the Clipsal 500. Lowndes scored four round wins, including sharing victory at the Bathurst 1000 with Jamie Whincup, winning the inaugural Peter Brock Trophy.
Having led the championship to Round 11, Lowndes lost the series lead at the Symmons Plains Raceway weekend. Having seen a big chunk of his lead evaporate at the previous round on the Gold Coast following two penalties for dangerous driving approaching the starting grid, the pressure was on Lowndes to perform at the Tasmania event. Unfortunately for Lowndes, he was caught in a massive crash on the opening lap of the first race, forcing him to the rear of the grid for the next race. He recovered, but he lost the series lead to Rick Kelly, who took a handy 73-point lead. At the next round in Bahrain, Lowndes stormed back into contention as Kelly encountered problems of his own. The stage was set for a spectacular finale at Phillip Island, with the two contenders separated by just seven points.
Lowndes qualified on the third row of the grid, while Kelly was further back on the fifth row. However, Kelly fought back in the first race to be right on Lowndes' bumper at the conclusion of the race – Lowndes was fourth, Kelly fifth. In the second race, Lowndes came third while Kelly was fourth – again close behind. The points going into the final race of the year were tied. On the opening lap of the final race, Kelly pushed Lowndes on the rear bumper while in the high-speed section between Turns 3 and 4, sending Lowndes into a spin, eventually cleaning out both Lowndes and Todd Kelly (Rick's older brother). Rick Kelly was given a drive-through penalty, and finished 18th. Lowndes' car was extensively damaged and was only able to salvage 29th place. Rick Kelly had won the championship.
However, Lowndes and his Triple Eight team protested, claiming that Kelly had deliberately taken Lowndes out of the race. The stewards, after deliberation, dismissed the appeal, saying that the drive-through penalty was sufficient punishment for Kelly. Furthermore, Lowndes and Triple Eight accused the Toll HSV Dealer Team and the Holden Racing Team for bad sportsmanship – Mark Skaife was given a bad sportsmanship flag in Race 1 for blocking Lowndes, while Kelly's team-mate Garth Tander was given a drive-through penalty for blocking Lowndes in Race 2. Some days later, Lowndes was awarded the prized Barry Sheene Medal, which was some consolation.
In 2007, the team retained the services of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes. The new title sponsor was Vodafone, replacing Betta Electrical. The team has won four rounds of the championship thus far, including both endurance races, Sandown and Bathurst. TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup narrowly missed out on the 2007 drivers championship by 2 points, with Garth Tander and Toll HSV Racing Team winning the last race of the season (Phillip Island).
2008 proved to be the year for TeamVodafone winning their first drivers championship with Jamie Whincup, their third straight Bathurst 1000 victory, and capping it all off with a cleanup at the gala awards night, collecting the team's fourth straight Barry Sheene medal and the Best Presented team award. Following Ford's decision to withdraw support from all teams running Ford Falcons other than Ford Performance Racing or Stone Brothers Racing the Ford logos on the front of the cars were replaced by a stylised pink pigs head, referring to the Hog's Breath Cafe, one of the team sponsors.
In 2009 the team ran brand new FG Falcons with the champion's #1 on the side of Whincup's car. Triple Eight Racing won fifteen of the twenty three races staged during the championship, with Whincup winning eleven races and the championship and Lowndes taking four wins at Winton, the Gold Coast and Barbagallo, finishing the year in fourth.
Change to Holden
From 2010, the team switched to racing Holden Commodores, as the Triple Eight engineering outfit signed a three-year deal with Holden. The team has also re-signed with major sponsor Vodafone for another three years until the end of the 2012 season.
The team celebrated the first race of the year with a 1-2 finish with Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes respectively. Jamie Whincup won both races in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Hamilton, but lost the championship lead after troubled races at Queensland Raceway and Winton, while teammate Craig Lowndes finished on the podium several times. They also had a great result at Bathurst with a 1-2 finish with Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife and Jamie Whincup, Steve Owen respectively. Whincup finished the year in 2nd, with Lowndes in 4th.
2011 would see Triple Eight retain its drivers for 2011. Both Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes fought for the championship with Jamie Whincup winning the championship from Craig Lowndes and the team winning the team's championship.
2012 saw Triple Eight once again dominate the V8 Supercar Championship winning 19 races including the Sandown 500 (Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff #888) and the Bathurst 1000 (Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell #1). Jamie Whincup won his 4th V8 Supercar title while Craig Lowndes took second place in the championship from Mark Winterbottom in the final race.
Red Bull Racing Australia
In June 2012, Vodafone Hutchison Australia [VHA] announced it would not renew the sponsorship for both Triple Eight and Cricket Australia to focus on its mobile network. In August 2012, it was announced that energy drink company Red Bull would take over the naming rights from Vodafone for the 2013 V8 Supercars season onwards. It was also announced that the team would assume the identity of Red Bull Racing Australia.
Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes retain their seats in the main championship. On January 27, 2013, after months of speculation, the team announced that they had signed former world motorcycling champion Casey Stoner, on a one-year contract. Stoner will compete in the second tier series, the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series in a Red Bull and Pirtek backed Holden VE Commodore.
2013 started with the new COTF spec cars and the new Holden VF Commodore body shape. It was a winning start for Craig Lowndes taking out the first race of the year on the streets of Adelaide at the Clipsal 500 under the Red Bull Racing Australia brand.
- Lowndes returns to Holden – Wide World of Sport (via ninemsn.com.au), 29 July 2009
- Lee, Julian (7 June 2012). "Vodafone dumps cricket, motorsport sponsorship". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- "Red Bull Australia secure naming rights to sponsor Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden V8 Supercars". Fox Sports News. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013.