Resilience was key for Erebus Motorsport as Brodie Kostecki achieved a sweep of The Bend SuperSprint despite a period of upheaval for the squad.
Will Brown's release from his contract was confirmed on August 11 before his deal with Triple Eight Race Engineering was made official on August 16, days before Event 8 of the Repco Supercars Championship at Tailem Bend.
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However, Ryan also vowed that his team would “get through it” and “get on with it professionally,” and the contract dealings were no obvious hindrance to Kostecki.
The West Australian became the first driver to win a race as championship leader this year and would go on to take victory in all three races, as well as two pole positions and one serving of fastest lap bonus points.
Those feats came on a weekend when it otherwise would have been Mustang drivers setting the pace, while Kostecki even had to manage a steering drama for his #99 Coca-Cola Camaro in one race.
Erebus Managing Director Shannen Kiely remarked, “I think Barry said it well on Friday where it was, if we let what's happened in the last two weeks affect us, it was all a mental thing.
“The biggest thing is, we wanted to make sure that we continued on the journey we've been on in 2023.
“Our goal is a teams' championship and a drivers' championship so, however that plays out, we've done absolutely everything we can [at The Bend] and big credit to the boys and Brodie for doing a good job.”
Kostecki only returned to Australia in the days following his NASCAR Cup Series debut, when he qualified 11th-fastest, although he started rear of grid when a crash in that session led to a chassis change.
Having arrived at The Bend 41 points clear at the top of the championship, he left with a 137-point lead.
“It's obviously pretty awesome,” said the 25-year-old of his week.
“We've had a fantastic year so far with our team.
“You go into this new era and a lot of hard work has gone into it – every team works hard – but we sort of set out a plan at the end of last year and it's all sort of gone to plan, which is really cool to see.
“It's just from all the hard work that the whole team has put in, so this weekend will be one of those that I'll cherish forever.”
On the other side of the Erebus garage, however, it was less than stellar for Brown, who slipped from second in the drivers' championship to fourth at 258 points back.
The Queenslander was a DNF in Saturday's Race 20 having been caught up in a first-corner crash, before finishing 13th in both Sunday encounters, with an off-track excursion along the way in the latter.
“I thought I came into this week in a better headspace,” said Brown on the television broadcast after Race 22.
“I knew where I was heading next year, I was excited for the future, and to finish off strong with these guys, and to win the teams' championship and the drivers' championship for them.
“Obviously this weekend has hurt that, it's a tough pill to swallow.”
Nevertheless, the 2019 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series winner maintains his 2023 Supercars Championship title hopes are not dashed, given the enduros are still to come.
“Really looking forward to the enduros,” stated Brown.
“I don't think this weekend has taken us out of contention for the championship, I still think there's a long road ahead.
“If you DNF Bathurst, you're out of contention pretty quick. I'm still confident, but I want to put this weekend behind me.”
Erebus and the rest of the field has pre-enduro testing coming up early next month, before the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 on September 15-17.