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Why Mostert/DeBorre partnership is ending

CHAZ Mostert and Adam DeBorre.

For a decade they have been Supercars’ ultimate dynamic duo.

The opposites-attract relationship of off-beat driver and organised engineer has spanned three teams, from Dick Johnson Racing to Tickford Racing and lately Walkinshaw Andretti United.

It’s yielded two Bathurst 1000 triumphs and all of the driver’s career 21 race victories, Mostert having gone winless in the single year they spent apart (2016).

But the partnership is now at an end.

FPR-contracted Mostert and DeBorre paired up at DJR in 2013. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

DeBorre has called time on a Supercars stint that started alongside Lee Holdsworth – coincidentally Mostert’s 2023 co-driver – at Garry Rogers Motorsport back in 2006.

On the eve of their final race together at the Adelaide 500, DeBorre explained to V8 Sleuth that he’s exhausted from the workload in the Supercars category and needs a break.

“I’ve grown tired of the travel, tired of the drain that is put on you to stay at the level to try and be the best,” DeBorre told V8 Sleuth.

“I don’t stop thinking. The number of conversations we have about the car, philosophies, where we were strong, where we were weak. Seven or eight times a week we’ll be having these chats, he’s in Queensland and I’m on the south coast of New South Wales.

“We’re talking constantly, bouncing ideas off each other, watching old races, watching other cars. After a race weekend we’ll spend a day, we’ll review the vision and do notes; Cam’s car was good here, Shane’s car was good there, our car was OK here.

Car #25 finished fourth in points but wet winless in 2023. Pic: Supplied

“It’s exhausting, it really is, and when you’ve been doing it for so long, and the championship is looking to expand… it’s not getting easier.

“That COVID tour that we did was a huge toll on everyone and their families. It was hard. I still in my head haven’t recovered properly from that period away.

“This year, I was hoping the new cars (Gen3) were going to be something I could really sink my teeth into and enjoy and activate a creative spark or passion and unfortunately for me they haven’t done that. So, I felt it was a good time now to have a break.

“I’ve got to the point where my other business that I’ve been building over the last few years, which is a dampers and suspension business with Ohlins, has gone so well that I can now pick and choose the races I want to do, so I can slow down, I don’t have to commit to a full GT program or anything.”

While DeBorre isn’t the first – and won’t be the last – to opt for time out due to the gruelling nature of professional motor racing, the relationship with Mostert made it an especially tough decision to make, and to communicate.

Mostert and DeBorre embraced after their 2014 Bathurst win. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

“That was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in recent memory,” he says of telling his driver.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. My wife summed it up for me. She goes, ‘getting ready to go to a race meeting, your personality changes, because you start switching into race mode and when you come back from a race weekend and you’re still in race mode, you’re not having that down time’.

“She said, ‘we need to make sure that you’re doing this for the right reasons’. I found that I was hanging around doing it because of my commitment and my belief in Chaz, he was the primary reason keeping me in the sport.

“Once we had that discussion, we were quite frank about the fact that, maybe it was time to take a break and slow down and think about me for a bit, rather than just what’s best for us, as in the relationship I’ve got with Chaz.

“As silly as it sounds and many people make the analogy, it is a relationship. It’s been 10 years we’ve known each other, when you speak and hang out and spend so much time together like we do… I ride every lap with him.

“The way that I read his data from the telemetry, from timing, everything like that, there is not one corner he does that I don’t know what he’s dealing with.

“So when we had to sit down and have that discussion about needing a break, he was obviously very disappointed but he gets it, he gets how passionate I am about the sport and being competitive and knows how much I’ve put in over the years.

“Once he got past the shock of it all he’s been very supportive.”

As well as continuing to grow his AD Racing Shocks business, DeBorre also looks forward to spending more time with his young family, and taking his two boys – aged 9 and 12 – karting more frequently. Any other racing opportunities will have to fit in around those priorities.

Next year Mostert will be starting a new driver/engineer relationship with Sam Scaffidi, who WAU has recruited from Tickford Racing after working with James Courtney in 2023.

Mostert and DeBorre at the 2023 Gold Coast 500. Pic: Supplied

DeBorre, though, won’t be far away.

“When we’re in the off-season, we still talk,” he said. “We don’t just talk cars, we talk life and karting and catch-up and go to his house, we’re more than just racing, we are brothers or a married couple, whatever you want to call it, we are that close.

“Yes, Chaz is going to have a new chapter, a new engineer working with him, but as I’ve said to the guys at Walkinshaw, I’m not racing you guys, I’m not racing anyone, my support is 100 percent behind you guys and if there’s anything I can do, I’m hands-up to help.

“I’m not going to another team, I’m just taking a break. In two years time, I might be bored shitless doing what I’m doing and want to come back! That’s the kind of way I’ve left it with these guys.”

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