Supercars CEO encouraged Triple Eight investment02/03/2021
Triple Eight’s new majority shareholder Tony Quinn says advice from Supercars boss Sean Seamer prompted the deal.
Successful businessman Quinn has taken a 40 per cent stake in the Triple Eight squad as part of a major managerial and ownership shake-up that involves Jamie Whincup replacing Roland Dane as team principal.
Quinn is now the majority shareholder in the team, with Jess Dane holding 30 per cent, Whincup 19 per cent and Roland Dane the last 11 per cent.
According to Quinn, the buy-in process started when he flagged his interest in investing in a team with Seamer. The series CEO made a “couple” of recommendations, one of which was long-time frontrunner Triple Eight.
“My first enquiry was actually through Sean Seamer,” explained Quinn.
“I said to him that I’d been keeping a close eye and I would like to invest in one of the teams up and down pitlane. He understood that and he recommended a few, a couple really, and it was clear to me which one I should go and invest in.
“And when I actually had the first meeting with the team, you know Roland, Jamie, and Jess, I was super impressed, over and above what I expected.
“I think they’ve created a fantastic environment there, and the thing that attracted me also was the fact that Roland wasn’t running away to sail around the Pacific.
“He was willing to stay on and coach Jamie and indeed myself into our new roles, and Jess, and so it became all the more attractive.”
Quinn added that the conversations started before the end of the 2020 season.
“I can’t remember, to be perfectly honest,” he said when pressed on an exact timeline. “But I would suggest it would have been around Bathurst. It was around October last year. It was pre-Bathurst, I know that.”
Quinn has a long involvement in motorsport, most notably as a sponsor through his successful business such as VIP Petfoods and Darrel Lea.
He’s also owned categories such as Australian GT and Aussie Racing Cars, and currently owns and operates the Hampton Downs and Highlands Motorsport Park circuits in New Zealand.
His current Supercars involvement isn’t limited to this T8 deal either, Quinn having upped his backing of Team Sydney this season through his Local Legends business, which helped the team land race winner Fabian Coulthard.
“They are two separate propositions,” said Quinn of the T8 and Team Sydney deals.
“The Team Sydney proposition is a continuation of what we started last year with the Local Legends sponsorship. It’s a good deal for Local Legends and it’s a good deal for Team Sydney.
“That’s a totally seperate discussion to the Triple Eight involvement. The Triple Eight involvement is far more commercial and a longer-term proposition.
“Motorsport has been, and will continue to be, a major part of my future. Even when I’m dead and gone, my legacy wants to continue on in motorsport. And Triple Eight forms part of that endeavour.”
Dane, who will step down as managing director and team principal at the end of this season, said the deal came together quite quickly.
“How it happened, it happened relatively quickly and I very quickly reached the conclusion that [Quinn] was somebody I thought could really add value to Triple Eight and help the next generation achieve their ambitions and grow,” he said.
“Honestly, as many people know, I’m not really motivated by money. I’m motivated by success of the business and on track, and off track, and I want to see that continue.
“It’s a bit of a unicorn situation. Tony is extremely successful business-wise. But he’s also been around motorsport for a long time, and has a deep understanding of it from a number of different viewpoints – as a category owner, as a circuit owner, and even as a promotor. He sees it as a competitor as well.
“That’s a pretty unique set of experiences, there, that I think it would be hard to match.”
Dane pointed at the recent investment from both Quinn, and new Kelly Grove Racing part-owner Stephen Grove, as a sign of good health for Supercars.
“Frankly, for Supercars over the last month as a category to have snared significant investment from two people – Stephen Grove and Tony Quinn – in different teams is a testament to the direction the category is hopefully going in, now off the back of television, off the back of Gen3 etcetera,” he said.
“Tony has a lot to contribute to Triple Eight but also the Supercars environment, should he so choose to have an involvement at some point in the future.”
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