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Xiberras celebrates first year in Supercars

IT was less than 12 months ago that Peter Xiberras got a deal over the line to take over and rebrand Team Sydney.

To put it bluntly, Team Sydney had become the laughing stock of Supercars.

When the Sydney initiative launched in early 2020, it was spruiked as a budding powerhouse that could take on the best in the business.

The reality was starkly different: a rear-of-grid team which spent next to no time actually in Sydney and was plagued by ultra-high staff turnover (including star signing James Courtney walking out after one round).

As soon as Xiberras took the reins, there was a distinct effort to distance PremiAir Racing from its predecessor.

Slowly but surely, the team showed it was no pretender, recruiting the likes of team principal Matt Cook, lead engineer Geoffrey Slater and driver James Golding mid-season.

Golding’s opportunity came at the expense of Garry Jacobson, who was dumped after Round 6 in Darwin.

Fellow inaugural driver Chris Pither made it only to the end of the season, with two-time Supercars Championship race winner Tim Slade lured away from the Blanchard Racing Team to replace him in 2023.

The ambitious approach has largely paid off, with Golding especially becoming a regular top 10 runner through the final third of the season.

“When we started, I probably had some goals I wanted to achieve and one of them was to try to get to mid-pack as soon as we could,” a relieved Xiberras reflected to V8 Sleuth.

“There were some trying times but we got there, and by the end of the year I wanted to qualify in the 10, I wanted to be in a Top 10 Shootout, I wanted to finish in the 10.

“So really, we have ticked all of the boxes that I wanted to achieve for the first year.

“Look, you always want more and better but from where we started to where we are now, I think it’s chalk and cheese and I’m really happy for the team.

“I just see bigger and better for next year.”

His vision for 2023?

“My goal probably would be that we’ll have two cars constantly in the top 10,” Xiberras replied.

“I’ve got a great team now. There will be minimal changes, if anything we’re just going to add a few more people to bolster up and get some more talent in the squad but you’ll see the same faces and a few more.”

PremiAir will race turnkey Triple Eight Camaros next season.

The team’s first Gen3 shakedown is due to take place on January 30 at Queensland Raceway ahead of the Newcastle season-opener across March 10-12.

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