Triple Eight Race Engineering - Most Successful V8SC Team Since 2003
Triple Eight Race Engineering is an Australian racing team, based in Banyo, Brisbane, Queensland, which competes in the V8 Supercars Championship since 2003.
In sixteen V8SC seasons, the team clinched eight drivers’ championship titles, nine teams’ championship titles and seven wins at Bathurst 1000. Of nine drivers’ titles, seven went to the account of Jamie Whincup. In 2016, the champion was Shane van Gisbergen.
British Triple Eight bought V8SC team in 2003
The story about the Australian branch of the British Triple Eight Racing team started in September 2003. The British team, founded in 1996 and owned by Peter Butterly, Roland Dane, Ian Harrison and Derek Warwick, purchased the Briggs Motor Sport, based in Brisbane’s suburb of Bowen Hills.
The Triple Eight engineers built two Ford BA Falcons for debut at Sandown 500 on September 14, 2003. Paul Radisich and Rickard Rydell participated in the #65 Ford, finishing seventh. Dean Canto and Matthew White were in another #66 car, finishing 14th. A month later, Radisich and Rydell finished seventh at Bathurst 1000.
Disappointing results in debut season
Triple Eight entered its first full season in 2004, under the name Team Betta Electrical, with Paul Radisich in the #88 car and Brazilian Max Wilson in the #888 car. Radisich scored only two podiums to finish 19th in the points, Wilson was 28th in the points. At Sandown and Bathurst endurance races, Yvan Muller partnered Dean Canto in the #888 car, Radisich and Wilson were together in the #88 car.
Positive change came with Craig Lowndes
Three-time V8SC champion Craig Lowndes joined the team in 2005 to drive the #888 car, together with Steve Ellery in the #88 car. Lowndes was a catalyst for positive change, winning six races, including Sandown 500 with Yvan Muller as a co-driver. The first victory for the team was at Eastern Creek Raceway in May. Lowndes finished second in the championship, behind Russell Ingall. Ellery was 13th in the points. His highlight of the season was third place at Bathurst 1000.
2006 – first Bathurst victory for Lowndes, Whincup
In 2006, the strong performances continued with a new driver in the team – Jamie Whincup replaced Ellery. Whincup has won the season-opening Clipsal 500. Later in the season, he added one more victory to his account, at the greatest of all races – the Bathurst 1000. The co-drivers in the victorious #888 Ford BA Falcon were Whincup and Lowndes. Richard Lyons and Allan Simonsen were in the second car and they finished 12th.
Controversial end of the 2006 season
At the end of the season, Lowndes was the championship runner-up again, behind Rick Kelly. Lowndes has won five times, Kelly was the winner just once. They entered the last race at Phillip Island tied in the points. On the second lap, Kelly pushed Lowndes, sending him into a spin. Rick Kelly was given a drive-through penalty and finished 18th. Lowndes’ car was damaged and was only able to catch 29th place, so Kelly had won the championship.
2007 – one more Bathurst victory for the #888
For the 2007 season, the team retained the services of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes. The new title sponsor was Vodafone. The team again narrowly missed out the drivers’ championship, with Whincup finishing the season two points behind Garth Tander. Whincup was the winner in five races, including both endurance races (Sandown and Bathurst) together with Craig Lowndes. Lowndes finished third in the points with six race victories.
2008 – both Bathurst and championship were conquered
In 2008, Jamie Whincup finally won the first drivers’ championship title for the Triple Eight Race Engineering, together with teams’ title for Team Vodafone. The #88 Ford BF Falcon was an absolutely dominant car, with an incredible fifteen wins for Jamie through the season. At Bathurst 1000, Whincup and Lowndes scored their third win in a row. Lowndes finished fourth in the points, winning only two races.
2009 – the pink pig has won the championship
For the 2009 season, Ford decided to withdraw support from all teams other than Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing. The Triple Eight stayed with Ford but replaced the Ford logos on the front of the cars with pink pigs head, referring to the Hog’s Breath Cafe, one of the team sponsors.
Driving the #1 Ford FG Falcon, Whincup won eleven races to catch his second consecutive title. Lowndes added four wins, finishing fourth in the points. At Bathurst 1000, Whincup/Lowndes finished fifth.
2010 – team’s title and double Bathurst victory
In 2010, the pink pig logo was replaced with a lion, as Triple Eight switched to Holden VE Commodore cars, signing a three-year deal with Holden. The team also re-signed with major sponsor Vodafone for another three years.
Whincup started a season with four consecutive wins. Until the end of the season, he collected nine wins but lost a title fight against Dick Johnson Racing’s James Courtney. The team took one more teams’ title. Lowndes was fourth in the points with three wins. The highlight of the season was Bathurst 1000 race, with a 1-2 victory for the team. The winners were Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife in the #888 car, ahead of Jamie Whincup and Steve Owen in the #1 car.
2011 – third championship title for Whincup
In 2011, Jamie Whincup returned to the top podium spot at the end of the season with the team winning the team’s championship. The fight for the drivers’ title was the in-team battle between Whincup and Lowndes. Jamie collected ten wins, Craig stopped on five.
2012 – Triple Eight’s 19 wins for both titles
In 2012, Triple Eight dominated the championship, winning 19 races and taking both drivers’ and teams’ titles. Whincup’s main rival was Lowndes again. Whincup won 12 times, Lowndes added seven wins.
Red Bull Racing Australia since 2013
Vodafone didn’t renew the sponsorship for 2013, so energy drink company Red Bull took over the naming rights, creating the Red Bull Racing Australia team. The another novelty in the 2013 V8SC season was the introduction of the Car of the Future specification cars. Triple Eight were running two Holden VF Commodores for Whincup and Lowndes, who finished first and second in the championship again. Whincup has won ten times, Lowndes triumphed five times.
At Bathurst 1000, both Whincup and Lowndes reached podiums, but the winners were Ford’s Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards. Whincup and Paul Dumbrell finished second, Lowndes and Warren Luff were third. Triple Eight had one more car at Bathurst, the #10 Xbox One Holden for the European racing stars Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekstrom, who finished 10th.
2014 – historic sixth title for Jamie Whincup
In 2014, Jamie Whincup successfully defended his drivers’ championship, securing a record sixth title at Phillip Island, surpassing the previous record of five held by Ian Geoghegan, Dick Johnson and Mark Skaife. The team also retained the teams’ championship.
Whincup was victorious fourteen times, including two wins in the endurance races (Sandown and Gold Coast) but he missed a victory at Bathurst 1000, finishing fifth.
2015 – sixth Bathurst victory for Lowndes
Jamie Whincup finished only fifth in the points, with eight victories. Lowndes was the main Winterbottom’s rival, finishing as the runner-up with six wins. One of his wins was Bathurst 1000, together with Steven Richards. Lowndes became the fifth driver to win at least six Bathurst 1000s, while Richards himself became a four-time winner of the race with his fourth different co-driver.
Third car for new champion Shane Van Gisbergen
In 2016, a third car was added for Shane Van Gisbergen, who moved from Tekno Autosports. The team purchased a Racing Entitlement Contract that was last used in 2014 by James Rosenberg Racing. Van Gisbergen retained his number #97 and joined Whincup in the Red Bull Racing Australia team, while Lowndes switched to Team Vortex.
The team secured its eighth title, seventh in a row. Shane van Gisbergen secured his maiden V8SC title with one race remained, ahead of Jamie Whincup. Craig Lowndes was in a fight for the third place, but Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin spoiled Triple Eight’s 1-2-3.
Shane van Gisbergen and his co-driver Alexandre Premat were the winners of the Enduro Cup, with three podiums and one victory in four endurance races. At Bathurst 1000, they were second.
Red Bull Holden Racing Team since 2017
For 2017 V8 Supercars season, Holden stopped his factory support for Holden Racing Team and switched the support to Triple Eight for the next three years, so the new team was created. In a fact, Red Bull Racing Australia is rebranded to Red Bull Holden Racing Team. Jamie Whincup set a new record by capturing his seventh championship title, fighting until the last race against DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin.
In 2018, the highlight of the season was Bathurst 1000 victory for Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards in the #888 Holden. Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske) took his maiden championship title, ahead of Red Bull Holden’s Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup, who at least secured teams’ title for Triple Eight.
Retirement for Lowndes, Whincup as new co-owner
At the end of 2018, Craig Lowndes retired from the full-time racing in the Supercars Championship, announcing that he would serve as an endurance co-driver. One more change also came in the ownership of the team as Jamie Whincup became a co-owner, alongside Roland Dane, Jessica Dane, Tim Miles and Paul Dumbrell.