By Shell on Oct. 11, 2021
The Supercars 2021 season is set to scream back into action at the end of October following a three-month, lockdown-enforced break – and the Shell V-Power Racing Team is busy preparing for the return to racing.
But while drivers Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison will be desperate to get back on the track at Sydney Motorsport Park, it’s another of the team’s drivers who will arguably play just as crucial a role in making it a reality.
Wayne Cowper is the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s truck driver, hauling the cars and the team’s equipment around the country in a purpose-built 26-metre B-double MAN TGX 580 Prime Mover that dwarfs just about anything else on the road.
The 61-year-old has been with the Shell V-Power Racing Team for six years and, in that time, has become something of the backbone of the team. And after a year and more of border closures, quarantines and uncertainty, Wayne is just keen to get going again.
“Everyone’s itching at the moment to get back to normal, get racing again and get busy again,” he says. “No one likes standing around not doing much!”
Not that Wayne can be accused of just standing around. An experienced driver of motorsport trucks, he drives an average of 70,000 kilometres in any given season, including the 4,500-kilometre trip from the team’s Stapylton base across to Perth and the 3,500-kilometre journey up to Darwin. Fortunately, it’s a job he enjoys.
“I’m a truck driver at heart – I’ve been driving trucks since I was 21,” he says. “I enjoy the outback. I enjoy the Perth and Darwin trips where you get away from the traffic. You get plenty of time, and there are plenty of things to see out there.
“And I enjoy motorsports – all sports really. So doing this gives you the best of both worlds,” he says.
As for the race he looks forward to each year, could it ever be in doubt?
“Bathurst is always a good event for us,” he says without hesitation. “Everyone always loves going to Bathurst.”
But while the job no doubt holds plenty of appeal for many motorsport fans or those who dream of travelling all over Australia, Wayne insists that it might not be quite as glamorous as some may expect.
“We’re all part of a team, so when we get to a race, we’ve all got jobs to do for the race weekend as well,” he explains. “I look after the tyres for race cars during the race weekend with another bloke.
“We keep the truck tidy through the weekend, the presentation is pretty important, so everyone has a role on the weekends. A lot of people think it’s a great job, you can go and watch the racing, but it’s pretty full on.”
Another key role for Wayne is ensuring everything that’s needed for the race weekend is packed in the truck – “cars, spare engines, spare mechanical components, all the associated components to set up the pits and pit walling, all the computer gear, the data stands and the radios. Everything you see at a race meeting comes out of the truck,” he says.
And with the end of October fast approaching, Wayne and the Shell V-Power Racing Team are gearing up to get everything finetuned in time for the restart.
“I can’t wait,” he adds.