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Burgess reinvigorated by return to team land

AFTER half a decade in the hot seat as Supercars’ head of motorsport, Adrian Burgess is relishing being back on the other side of the fence.

Burgess this month took over at the helm of Team 18, which has undergone significant off-season change with other arrivals including David Reynolds (#20 driver), Geoff Slater (technical director) and Som Sharma (#18 race engineer).

What was noticeable at the Chevrolet’s squad Winton pre-season test was a far more relaxed presence about Burgess.

“It’s just nice and refreshing to be back in team land,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“I have not been in this position for a few years so I’m sort of remembering what I need to be doing in terms of managing the team and keeping the focus on a plan too, so it’s been good. It’s nice.”

The Supercars HoM role – now known as ‘general manager of motorsport’ and filled by Tim Edwards – generally involves scrutiny in bad times and minimal praise in good times, not to mention the politics of dealing with various teams, manufacturers and personalities.

Being team principal at Team 18, there’s a much clearer sense of winning and losing.

“Your competitive spirit that has been laying dormant for a few years is very quickly reignited,” said Burgess.

“Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) and Dave, they are so energised and looking forward to the year, there is a really good vibe in the team and everyone gets on.

“It’s early days, but I’m enjoying it.”

Burgess worked in Supercars teams from 2006 to 2018, chalking up stints at Dick Johnson Racing, Triple Eight, Walkinshaw Racing and Tekno Autosports.

He’s widely lauded for his efforts in delivering DJR the 2010 title amid significant adversity as then team co-owners Dick Johnson and Charlie Schwerkolt were headed for a split.

The #20 Tradie Beer Camaro of David Reynolds during testing. Pic: Ross Gibb

There’s now a different sort of task at hand with Schwerkolt’s standalone organisation, which is stacked with staff that are proven winners, although many of whom have never worked together or not for quite some time.

“Look, that’s one of my main roles, is getting everyone working together, identifying areas where we need to improve, giving your people the tools to do the job and understanding what they all need,” said Burgess.

“Some guys you have got to wrap your arm around, some need your foot up their arse, they all respond differently to different encouragement or motivation.

“But it’s something I have done in the past, it’s part of the job I enjoy, is putting teams together.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to be judged on your results. There’s a long way to go but it’s exciting.”

Round 1 of the 2024 season takes place this weekend at Mount Panorama.

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