THERE will be a central figure missing from the PremiAir Racing garage at this weekend’s ITM Auckland SuperSprint following team manager Dan Ensor’s departure.
Ensor was one of the first staffing appointments made by Peter Xiberras when he launched the Queensland-based team this year.
However, the relationship has ended after nine rounds.
Ensor was spotted at Triple Eight Race Engineering’s wildcard test last week; he’s expected to have a role in the #888 Supercheap Auto crew at the Repco Bathurst 1000 next month before looking abroad to chase his IndyCar dream.
PremiAir team principal Matt Cook said a replacement will be sought – but in a measured fashion.
“I need someone with the right experience and it’s very hard to find that three-quarters of the way through the year,” Cook told V8 Sleuth.
“So at the moment we’re just going to absorb it from within and give a bit more responsibility to the chief mechanic (Scott Wilkinson), a little bit more responsibility to engineers, and a little bit more on myself.
“We’re just going to absorb it and that will just allow us to have a little bit more time to find the right person.
“After this weekend, there’s only three races to go until the end of the year so we don’t want to make any harsh or rash decisions straightaway.”
Ensor is the second Supercars team manager to step away in quick succession, following Brendan Hogan leaving the Blanchard Racing Team in favour of the affiliated CoolDrive Auto Parts business.
Besides investing heavily in its equipment, PremiAir has gradually gone about putting key personnel in place, appointing Cook in May and bringing on accomplished engineer Geoff Slater in July.
Slater initially joined on a one-off basis but has now been confirmed for a permanent role.
James Golding was also drafted in mid-season as Garry Jacobson’s replacement, and is expected to be retained next season alongside widely touted recruit Tim Slade.
Slater and Golding will team up from this weekend, with the sister #22 of Chris Pither to be engineered by Simon Hodge at Pukekohe before Ken Douglas returns for Bathurst.
Cook denied rumours that Golding’s previous engineer Sheldon Auhl has exited, indicating he’ll be back on deck after the Great Race.