PAUL ‘Wally’ Weissel was Peter Brock’s PR man through his time with the Holden Racing Team in the 1990s and stayed with the team into the 2000s.
Long retired from the sport, he now writes a regular column for Australian Muscle Car Magazine telling stories from his time in the industry.
One of the stories Weissel tells in the new issue of AMC – Issue 123, released this week – is of the fallout after an HRT team member did something that the V8 Sleuth team would strongly recommend nobody ever do.
They’d told Tim Schenken to f*** off.
“There’s nothing that gets your bum puckering more than to hear your name called out over the paddock public address system during race weekend at Bathurst,” Weissel wrote.
“On the (I think) Saturday of the 2000 Great Race the PA blared: ‘Would Paul Weissel of the Holden Racing Team please report to the Race Director’s office!’
“That’s me! Summoned by Tim Schenken! What had I done! I duly presented myself to the Great Man in his office in the tower.
“‘Mr Weissel,’ said Tim (always very formal), ‘I believe one of your team’s staff has just told me to f*** off!’”
Weissel explains that it had happened when Schenken spotted a person in an HRT jacket removing the mirror from the passenger’s side door of one of the Commodores that Holden had supplied to race officials for the event as course and support cars.
It turned out that the gentleman in the HRT jacket was indeed working for the team, and his instructions had come from the top!
“All the drivers were complaining about the lack of vision – especially to the rear – as all we ran then was the interior mirror and a drivers’ side exterior,” Weissel explains.
“A left-wing mirror might help but they were certainly not in a parts inventory at the track.
“Team manager Jeff Grech had the great idea that with all those Holden Commodores sitting out there supplied by Holden – and we were the Holden Racing Team after all – then why not just ‘borrow’ them for the weekend?” Weissel explains.
“The guy sent to do the job rarely came to race meetings and was not well known around the race paddock.
“Tim – possibly unwisely – pulled out the ‘Don’t you know I am?’ question, which was quickly followed by ‘don’t you know who I am?’ by our man from the HRT.
“Tim’s response naturally was to say ‘no’, leading to the follow up: ‘Good, then f***off!’”
Weissel’s column ‘Wally’s Words’ is part of another bumper edition of AMC, which this issue celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Valiant Charger.
The cover story takes an in-depth look at the creation of the VH-model Charger, plus its ‘Great Race’ debut in the 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500.
AMC 123 also looks back at an often-forgotten Ford Falcon muscle car and goes on the journey as an owner carries out a ground-up restoration of a genuine Holden HK Monaro 327.
It also carries a feature interview with John Bowe where he opens up about his battle with prostate cancer and goes through what’s involved, along with candid and behind the scenes photos from Allan Moffat’s years campaigning Ford Sierras and his final EB Falcon as taken by a team mechanic, plus the second and final part of the Muscle Man feature on late Formula 5000 hero Max Stewart.