Despite having himself led the Supercars drivers' championship on the way into the previous event of the season, and Erebus still sitting one-two in that contest, Brown negotiated an exit with a year to run on his contract in order to join Triple Eight as the replacement for Shane van Gisbergen.
There has been clear niggle between those two teams already in a tightly-fought battle for the championship in 2023, instigated largely by Ryan, making the departure of the #9 Camaro pilot to Banyo all the more significant.
“Imagine you've got kids, and your kid comes up to you and goes, ‘You know that family you hate up the road? I'm going to go and live with them,” he said.
“That's how it feels. I can deal with it, but that's how it feels.
“I'm gutted; he's like my little brother and it's like he's moved down the road.
“But, we'll get through it, we'll get on with it professionally, a hundred percent, and we'll always be mates.
“It's just, he'll be the one I hate next year because… Not hate, [but] everybody in pit lane's my enemy; that's the only way I can deal with racing and stuff, and making sure that our team is the best team in pit lane.
“So, he's going to the enemy next year but this year he's our mate, so we'll press on like nothing's happened.
“He's a fun kid to have around, he's in the garage today, they're all having fun, with him, it's the same team as it was when we left Sydney.
“It's just, unfortunately, next year he's not going to be here.”
Brown has chosen to leave Erebus for Triple Eight despite the former being, statistically, the superior team so far in this, the first year of the Gen3 Supercars era.
Furthermore, it was Erebus which gave the Queenslander his start in the Supercars Championship as an enduro co-driver, then as a full-timer in a multi-year deal which also saw him initially placed in the Image Racing Super2 squad with which it is closely aligned.
Ryan argues that he is not leaving for a better team, but rather a “better brand”.
“It's disappointing,” he remarked.
“I'm not angry or anything, I'm just disappointed, because we put a lot of effort into Will.
“But, I can see, like I said to the boys today, once you sleep on it for a bit, you go, he's gone to a brand.
“We're the best team in pit lane at the moment, so he hasn't gone to a better team, he's gone to a better brand.
“So, we need to do more on our brand, and make sure we get to a point where we are like Triple Eight and we've won multiple championships, we've got big brands behind us – which we have [presumably a reference to Coca-Cola] – and we've just got to tick a few more boxes that make the drivers want to stay.
“Will's made a personal decision and good on him. He could be there for 10 years because that's the history of Triple Eight; they have drivers for a long time.
“As selfish as you might feel it is on Will's behalf, Betty's got a beautiful heart and she's made a decision to let him go, so now we'll move on.
“He's still a hundred percent committed to winning races for us. He hates Red Bull, or Triple Eight, as much as anyone right now because he's with Erebus, so he wants to beat those guys as much as we do.
“At the end of the year, we'll shake hands and make sure we hate him next year and we keep beating him.”
‘Betty' is Klimenko, the team owner, and it is understood that Brown approached her to facilitate the release.
Ryan confirmed the call was hers, stating, “It wasn't calling rank. She's the boss at the end of the day, so she owns Erebus Motorsport; I'm a part owner in a TRC.
“She owns Erebus Motorsport, I run the place, but she can call rank anytime she wants on what she wants to do.
“So, she made the ultimate decision to let him go, so I have hundred percent respect for Betty's decision.”