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HomeNewsKlimenko thought ‘privateer’ Supercars title impossible

Klimenko thought ‘privateer’ Supercars title impossible

EREBUS Motorsport defeated the giants of Supercars racing in 2023.

In the aftermath of Brodie Kostecki sealing the title on Saturday at the Adelaide 500, team owner Betty Klimenko declared she thought such a feat was impossible.

“It’s very surreal. It’s something you strive for,” Klimenko said.

“When people say, would you rather win Bathurst or a championship, you always say Bathurst because you know that’s obtainable.

“Being a privateer team, we didn’t think that was ever obtainable, but now, not only is it obtainable, we’ve done it.

“It shows every other privateer team going down the ranks that you can do it, you don’t need to be factory-backed, you can do it on your own.”

‘OVER IT’: Klimenko calls out Supercars rule change

Erebus made the most of the new Gen3 regulations in 2023 that standardised critical components between teams in a bid to level the playing field.

Even so, Erebus had to race a Camaro that had been homologated by Chevrolet’s single factory squad, Triple Eight.

Ford spreads its factory support more evenly between teams, a fact Walkinshaw Andretti United cited when it switched to Ford for Supercars’ new era.

Although the definition of ‘privateer’ is somewhat clouded, it can be said that Erebus is the first to win a Supercars drivers’ title without factory support since Triple Eight in 2009.

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For Klimenko, though, the satisfaction runs deeper still.

Having fielded cars in GT racing, Erebus entered Supercars in 2013 following a buyout of Ford outfit Stone Brothers Racing.

A customer Mercedes-AMG program proved hugely expensive and largely unsuccessful, before a complete revamp of the team in 2016 included a switch to Holden.

Klimenko noted that move and a simultaneous handing of the reins to the hard-nosed Barry Ryan as the key pillars of the team’s subsequent success.

“They said I couldn’t do it, they said I was stupid going into V8s, that I’d be squashed like a bug,” she added.

“In the beginning we were a bit bug-squashy but after that, we changed to Holden, that changed everything.

“It was Barry, Barry changed it all. Two years later we won Bathurst, that was five years into the V8s and now another five years we’ve won the championship.

“I’m proud of myself. I hope that my father, my brother and my mother are all watching me from up there and going ‘we’re proud of you too’.

“I look at all these faces, I think, you know what, ‘well done Betty’.”

Erebus is also on the verge of sealing the teams’ championship; it heads into the final day of the season with a 161-point lead over Triple Eight.

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