Standing out the again of the Pukekohe garages in November 2017, Scott Pye laughed off rumours that he’d simply gone near dropping his drive at Walkinshaw Andretti United.
Like Sideshow Bob standing on rakes, the humour was within the painful repetition. American possession had confirmed so disruptive to Pye’s stint at Dick Johnson Racing, and finally led to him being compelled out to make method for Scott McLaughlin.
And right here we have been, lower than 12 months later, speculating that when once more an abroad buy-out was going to see him despatched packing.
Nonetheless it wasn’t new part-owners Michael Andretti and Zak Brown driving a change. As a substitute it was backer Enhance Cellular, seeking to see if it may wrangle highly-rated rookie Richie Stanaway out of Tickford’s grasp and get him into the WAU set-up.
As we now know, it did not occur. Pye saved his seat (and is now a Supercars race winner due to it), and Stanaway went off for his ill-fated journey at Campbellfield.
However historical past did nonetheless repeat itself. Second time round, Enhance, led by its energetic founder Peter Adderton, used its industrial clout to land Stanaway a gig – Garth Tander enjoying the half that Pye inadvertently auditioned for.
Even with Tickford out of the image, the 2019-spec deal would have taken some massaging because of Stanaway’s depleted inventory. Not that Adderton’s enthusiasm was ever dampened by Stanaway’s struggles; he brazenly admits that he thinks failure will make Stanaway stronger.
Plus, disruptive advertising is what Adderton lives for. Shoring up the way forward for a basic Supercars crew like GRM would by no means be sufficient. Enhance needed a splash, and the Stanaway deal brought about it.
Whereas factions of social media have been aggrieved by Tander being compelled out, this is not a narrative of fine guys and dangerous guys. Sure, Tander received royally screwed by the state of affairs. He deserved a send-off 12 months and he was denied that chance, which sucks. Easy as that.
However the flipside of that is not that Adderton and Enhance have completed anybody a deliberate disservice. Pouring funding right into a crew with out a naming rights backer, providing multi-year safety, is an effective factor.
“I learn a number of feedback, and clearly persons are disenchanted that Garth did not get his victory lap,” Adderton advised Motorsport.com earlier within the week.
“However on the finish of the day, this can be a sport that requires sponsorship , this can be a sport that might be there lengthy after I am gone and lengthy after Garth is gone and lengthy after Craig Lowndes is gone and everybody else.
“When you consider the game, you’ve got received give it some thought as an entire. What we’re attempting to do with Enhance is shore [the team] up.”
You possibly can’t blame Garry Rogers for taking the deal both. He isn’t promoting out, he is promoting. It is what race groups do to outlive.
Whether or not this ever factored into his considering or not is questionable, however that is additionally an opportunity for Rogers to maybe make good on one of many largest slip-ups of his storied profession.
The wily crew proprietor has a outstanding repute as a talent-spotter, after giving the likes of Tander, Lee Holdsworth, and Scott McLaughlin their principal sport breaks.
However his report is not good – in any case, that is the man that fired Jamie Whincup.
This can be a golden probability to make up for that Whincup blunder and play the identical final probability saloon position Tasman Motorsport performed with the now seven-time Supercars champ again in 2005.
Regardless of what occurred final 12 months, Stanaway is nice. Actually good. If he comes into the 2019 season with an angle re-alignment, there isn’t any motive why he cannot set up himself as a star.
If he does that, GRM shores up its mid-term future when it comes to each funds and driver firepower – and Garry comes out of it wanting like a genius.
Stanaway has much more to play for. For him, that is the ultimate probability. The Enhance connection is his get-out-of-jail-free card, and so they do not come alongside usually. Adderton could like a little bit of drama, and he says he will not put strain on Stanaway to carry out immediately. However he is additionally anticipating the Kiwi to come back to the social gathering sooner or later.
In 2019 we may even see a star driver save a delicately-poised profession with brilliance behind the wheel. We additionally may even see a conflict of personalities between a laconic driver, an lively, bold sponsor, and no-bullshit crew proprietor.
Both method, it is going to be attention-grabbing.