It is starring as a one-car operation this year, but Tekno Autosports could expand back to running two cars as soon as 2015.
The plan, which is in its early stages, has been confirmed by both team owner Jonathon Webb and new team principal Steve Hallam.
And Webb, who opted to drop out of the driver’s seat for 2014 to help run the operation, leaving Kiwi superstar Shane van Gisbergen in the VIP Petfoods Holden Commodore VF as the team’s sole driver, isn’t guaranteed the second team seat if it materialises in 2015.
“If I get the feeling it is okay for me to step back from my current role and we want to go back to two cars then I will put my name on the list,” Webb told v8supercars.com.au.
“If I make the cut then great, but … if there is a bigger, better, stronger driver out there which means we will have two cars at the front … then I am at the stage where I will put the team before myself.”
However, Webb will definitely return to the driver’s seat for the 2014 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, partnering van Gisbergen now that a plan to join the Holden Racing Team has been ruled out.
After expanding to two cars in 2012, Tekno dropped back to one car in 2014 for a number of reasons including the impending birth of Jonathon and wife Kobe’s first child. Kobe had been managing director of the team up until this year, while Webb raced and developed the performance road car business.
The team also owned only one Racing Entitlements contract (REC) and would have had to purchase one for Webb to continue on.
However, the reversion to one car status was only confirmed weeks prior to the opening round of the Championship when discussions with Tony D’Alberto to bring a REC and money and drive the team’s second car concluded unsuccessfully.
Reactivating the team’s second car in the right conditions for 2015 would be a relatively straight forward proposition said Hallam, who has joined Tekno after two years running Walkinshaw Racing.
“Would we like to be up to two cars? As a generality, yes,” the English former Formula One engineer said. “We own one license or one REC and we have the capability to run two cars out of our existing workshop.
“We have the equipment for two cars; we have the cars and engines to run two cars. We have the truck and everything else we need to run two cars if we have the opportunity.
“But running the second car has to stand on its own two feet and be a viable proposition. If we can make that happen and we are part of the process we will do it.”
Webb said hiring Hallam and reverting to two cars reflected the ambition that Tekno – which started in 2011 as a vehicle for him to race in the V8 Supercars Championship – become a permanent, professional part of the pitlane beyond his racing career.
“Something we need to look at is try and put ourselves out there as a professional outfit that wants to go out there and win races and has the ability to do that, spreading that message inside the sport but also to sponsors to try and build our team up.”
Tekno has certainly made a statement with its brilliant start to 2014. Van Gisbergen was a front-running threat at the Clipsal 500 and then won three out of four races at the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix, although a mechanical issue in the last race denied him the overall points victory.
A key to the team’s performance is the close technical relationship with Triple Eight Race Engineering, which Hallam said he would like to deepen in the future by contributing to development rather than operating purely on a customer basis.
“We have a clear relationship with Triple Eight, we use Tripe Eight equipment and it obviously works for us very well. I would like that to continue in the future, I would also like us to be a contributing partner but we have to earn our futures.”
Hallam, who has worked with some of the greatest drivers in F1 including Ayrton Senna, also praised van Gisbergen’s talent.
“We may only be a chapter in his career … but at the moment we are only a few pages into the chapter and it makes very pleasurable reading.”