What is your role at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team?
Team Welfare (mother, father, brother, ear, shoulder etc). I’m not very good with cars, but I’m not bad with people!
How long have you been part of the team?
After an apprenticeship year in 2005, my first official year in the team was 2006.
What does a normal working day for you look like at the track, as well as away from the track?
First of all, race weekends involve me making sure that we get RD safely to the track. Usually this involves finding the best coffee venue that is on the way to the track and listening to his description of what we can all do better.
Once at the track, the role pivots to ensuring that our drivers are both in tip-top shape and pointed in the direction they need to be facing. This involves helping the drivers transition between three different mindsets.
First and foremost, they are race car drivers, so we just need to give them enough space to do that job as well as possible. At other times though, we need them to be able to extract the qualitative data from the car and deliver it to the engineering team. This is a very different skill set to driving and requires a different way of thinking. The third direction we’re helping the drivers to point in, is the direction of our commercial partners. We all know we couldn’t go racing without these important people, and yet knowing how to interact with them mightn’t come naturally.
As a specialist sports physio, there is a strong emphasis in good physical preparation which is built from interacting with each driver’s training team off track. This preparation is the cornerstone of a good outcome when we go racing.
Back home, I moonlight as a Director of the Queensland Sports Medicine Centre in Brisbane.
Where does your passion for motorsport and working within Supercars come from?
It doesn’t. In truth, my passion is for people. The joy that comes from working with the Red Bull Holden Race Team really lies in the brilliant people who I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the last 15 years. From the top down, Roland has compiled a group of extremely passionate and focussed people who have then designed, constructed, and raced some terrific cars around Australia in one of the world’s best motorsport categories. My passion comes from serving them to the best of my ability.
What’s your favourite track on the Supercars calendar and why?
I do have a fondness for a certain patch of tarmac west of the blue mountains in New South Wales. It’s one of the most challenging racetracks in the world. To go there and survive the walls, the speed, the fatigue, and the pressure truly tests a driver to be at the top of their game.
What’s your favourite memory in motorsport?
I’ve got a few. That incredible day at Bathurst in 2006 just after Brock had passed. I have never experienced a day in sport like it, before or since. Craig winning that race was just meant to be. For Jamie, it was Pukekohe in 2017 – the penultimate round of the championship which he won in Newcastle in a fairy-tale two weeks later. The truth is that it took a lot of hard work to build that fairy-tale. None tougher than the honour of working with Jamie in the darkest of days in New Zealand. It’s not the good days that define you. It’s the difficult ones.
What would your advice be for someone interested in a career in Supercars?
Work hard, learn your stuff, and say yes to opportunities.
Funniest thing you’ve seen on the road?
A hotel room full of refrigerators, each one full of celebratory drinks. It was like a cross between NASA Mission control, Harvey Norman’s white goods department, and a scene from the Hangover…