WHEN you look at the main contenders for this year’s Bathurst 1000, amongst the big name, big budget outfits is also a family owned one-car team.
While there is the expectation that heavy hitters such as Red Bull Racing, the Holden Racing Team and Ford Performance Racing will be near the front of the grid, it would certainly not surprise if the Tekno Autosports Holden was challenging as well.
Given that Commodore has helped Shane van Gisbergen to fourth place in the championship after 10 rounds, it would be hard to dismiss it.
And Tekno Autosports team boss Jono Webb – who will co-drive for van Gisbergen in the Bathurst 1000 – believes now is as good a time as any for the team to snare their first Great Race podium.
“I think we are a seen as a serious contender this year ... neither of us have been on the podium at Bathurst before, but I actually said to Shane that I think this is our best chance,” Webb said.
“We are both comfortable together and have a good team behind us.
“We are quicker than ever before with our driver changes and those things are so important. That’s the thing about Bathurst, you have got to get a lot of little things right, but if we can do that I am confident we can be up there pushing HRT and Red Bull all the way.”
If they did it would certainly give the small team cause for big celebrations.
Team Tekno was formed by the Webb family in 2011, starting out as a one-car Ford outfit.
The following year they switched to Holden and ran two cars, but now it is back to the single Commodore.
It belongs to van Gisbergen, the flying Kiwi proving a major asset since joining the team in 2013. He finished fifth in last year’s championship – a personal best for Tekno.
This year he has 10 podium finishes and in the early stages of last month’s Sandown 500, it looked like being 11.
Webb started the Endurance Cup opener in the car and maintained his track position after starting second on the grid.
But as the afternoon wore on, the Triple Eight built Commodore encountered a problem and van Gisbergen eventually got it home in sixth.
“There were not many problems when I was in the car, there were just a couple of little things, but when Shane jumped in the car it had a power steering problems, it had a leak,” Webb said.
“It is near impossible to drive for long periods when it is like that ... we had to help Shane out of the car at the end of it because his arms were that stuffed.”
Still, the team have rectified that problem and are a strong chance of topping their best Bathurst 1000 result thus far – a sixth with Webb and Scott McLaughlin in 2012.
Also aiding the team’s cause is that van Gisbergen has already raced on the resurfaced Mount Panorama track this year, placing fourth in the Bathurst 12 Hour.
“We are quietly confident, we have just got to get the car handling well because with the resurface of the track, it is a bit of an unknown,” Webb said.
“I haven’t driven on the track since it has been resurfaced, but luckily Shane has in the 12 Hour. That will be a big help, the guys who have driven on it have an idea of how it grips.”