Team 18 has won the first race of the Gen3 era in Supercars by assembling all the pieces it will need to complete from the back end of 2022.
Charlie Schwerkolt’s slick squad has even finalised the racing colours of the twin Chevrolet Camaro coupes that Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye will drive.
The only thing missing is the cars themselves, but Schwerkolt tells Race.news that everything is locked in place and he’s expecting an early delivery of two factory-fresh cars from Triple Eight Race Engineering in the first quarter of next year.
The livewire team boss is pumped for the change to Gen3 and says he is fully prepared with everything from driver contracts to a close relationship with General Motors Special Vehicles in Australia.
“I like to be organised. I wanted to keep it simple and use the same method I know,” Schwerkolt says. “I’m ready to go. We’re just waiting for the cars.
“We didn’t want to build our own cars. Most of the teams are building their own cars, but we’re not geared up for it. My model is to be a car customer from Triple Eight, get a complete car from them and then sort it out with our good technical people.”
Schwerkolt says that an early reveal of the team’s Camaro liveries is a conscious decision to keep things moving at T18.
“We got the renders out to keep the excitement going while we’re not racing at the moment. We think they are the best yet and our sponsors cannot believe how realistic they are.
“It’s tough not be be racing, but we’re looking to generate excitement. We’re big on activation, but we’re hanging out to get to the tracks with a crowd.”
Although T18 is committed to the current T8 customer model, Schwerkolt reveals there may be some tweaking for the new cars.
“It sounds simple. I’ve ordered two new cars, rolling chassis, fully complete. We might do our own engines, with KRE in Queensland, but that’s about it.
“We are hanging out to get these cars. We’re going racing next August and, allegedly, we’ll have three or four test days to sort things out. I’m presuming, and hoping, will be on track early next year.
“It’s going to be great to have two brand-new cars. Ours are three years old now.”
Schwerkolt already has Mark Winterbottom locked-in to drive in the Gen3 era and is planning an early renewal for Scott Pye.
He is also ready to clear the shop with potential buyers for the team’s existing ZB Commodores.
“I’ve got a couple of people that are after them. I’ve got a Super2 team that wants to purchase them, and there are a couple of collectors out there. So that’s exciting. But they are no officially sold yet.”
Team 18 is hoping to power through the back end of the current Supercars season after showing some solid speed in earlier events.
“We are in good shape. We’ve got some great sponsors that support us. We’ve had a couple of hiccups with some accidents at Darwin at some other places, but I’m happy with how we’re going,” says Schwerkolt.
But he gets really excited as he talks about Gen3.
“Everyone knows the goal. I think we’ve got very experienced drivers, very experienced people, and the cars should be right. So it’s up to us. Scott and Frosty are pretty experienced, so if we can get an early jump and develop the cars we should be pretty strong.”