Driving Success: Inside a Supercars racing team
Milwaukee Racing is back for its sophomore season in the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Team owner Phil Munday takes us inside his race-day garage.
After a solid debut season in 2018, the team at Milwaukee Racing is back competing in the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, and team owner Phil Munday has his eyes on the top prize. “It’s my life long goal to win the Bathurst 1000 and the Peter Brock trophy,” he says. “I had a great friendship with PB and winning that trophy would be the pinnacle for me.” Munday credits the legendary Mt Panorama champion for igniting his passion for motorsport, and after eight top 10 finishes in 2018, he’s looking for improvement in the team’s sophomore season. “Last year was a learning curve for us. As a new team, we needed to understand what is required to win,” he says. “We took a lot out of that and know what we need to do better this year. Ideally, I’d like to get a few podiums this year and finish the season in the top 10—hopefully eighth or higher. And of course winning at Bathurst is always my ultimate goal.” With a new Mustang on the track and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Will Davison behind the wheel, Munday and the Milwaukee Racing team have as good a shot as any of taking out top honours at the iconic race. However, Munday is quick to point out that Supercars success requires a team effort that is bigger than any one person. “We have a team of seven or eight guys that basically dedicate their whole lives to the team. It’s a long season— from February to November—and we’re in a new race location every two to three weeks. It’s a monumental effort.” And Munday knows plenty about the importance of teamwork. After purchasing his first panel beating shop at the tender age of 19, he went on to build a hugely successful empire of around 100 stores nationally. Now retired, Munday is putting all his efforts into Milwaukee Racing. “When I started the business as a teenager, a customer gave me the best advice I could have ever received— always staff your weaknesses,” he says. “Success is about surrounding yourself with the best people, and I believe I have done that with our racing team. Racing is such an incredibly highpressure environment, and the guys do such a wonderful job of sustaining their performance over long periods of intense pressure.” Munday takes us inside his race-day garage and breaks down the key roles that make up the Milwaukee Racing team.
“I’m in the garage on race day. I try to stay out of the decision-making on the day, but I’m there to observe how the team is running and will bring up anything I’ve noticed in the debrief. We’ll discuss things as a team and come up with ways to improve.”
“Our manager oversees how everything is running on race day. He’ll make decisions about things like when to pit. And if the car is damaged during the race, our manager will jump in to direct the team to get it fixed.”
“Will does much more than just get in the car on race day. There’s a debrief after every track session, and he’ll tell us what he’s feeling in the car. We also collect a lot of data, but it’s Will who is actually in the car, so it’s vital for us know exactly what he’s feeling.”
“The data engineer is constantly monitoring data that comes in from the car during the race. This is important to catch any issues early and make sure the car is operating at its optimal levels. Long races like Bathurst require up to six hours of intense concentration. We’ll add a second data engineer for those.”
“It’s the engineer’s job to take all the information from the driver and the data engineer and relate that to the mechanics. The engineer will also look at all the data to get to the bottom of any issues and work with the mechanics to get it fixed.”
“All our mechanics have specific roles, but if there’s an accident or damage to the car, it’s all hands on deck. The mechanics also double as the pit crew during races. It’s a high-pressure environment but we all come together to get the job done.”