The V8 Supercars series' second oldest team, in terms of lineage at least, has announced that it is to disband after the Telstra 500 in Sydney next month.
Tasman Motorsport, now competing as Sprint Gas Racing but which formerly ran under the Lansvale Smash Repairs banner, has sold its 2010 series licences to proposed teams being formed by Lucas Dumbrell and d'Alberto Racing, and has confirmed that its Dandenong factory assets - including transporter, engines, tools and equipment - will be sold on to other teams.
Team co-owner Kevin Murphy has revealed that he will take two Sprint Gas VE Commodores for use in the Fujitsu V8 Development Series at GMR next year, while key personnel, under the guidance of team chief Mike Henry, are looking to set up a race preparation facility in Melbourne, possibly in league with engine man Royce McCort. Tasman's current driver pairing of Bathurst winners Greg Murphy and Jason Bargwanna are well-placed to secure seats at other teams, with both in advanced stages of negotiations.
Tasman's 24-year lineage dates back to 1986 when Lansvale owners Steve Reed and Trevor Ashby appeared as privateers with a VK Commodore, winning the Privateers' Cup in 1988. The duo subsequently made 16 Bathurst starts to hold the record for most starts by a single combination in the history of the race.
Under Tasman ownership, the team achieved memorable results with runner-up finishes at Bathurst in 2005 and 2008 and third place in the 2005 Sandown 500. Full-time drivers in that period include Cameron McConville, Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup, with debut drives coming from Fabian Coulthard and Andrew Jones.
“It's is a shame to end such an era in the sport, but our business model would not support the sporting success that we desired,” said co-owner Tim Miles, “During the period of our ownership, the team has showed promise – generally in the enduros – and we were gutted to come so close – but still miss out on a pair of podiums at Bathurst this year, with the 'Skaifey and Murph' car as well as 'Bargs' and [Mark] Noske.
“The fact remains that our structure was not going to allow us to grow into a team that consistently challenged for podiums, in such a competitive environment that is V8s. But we have had a great team of guys and they will move on to bigger and better positions in the sport.
“Finally, I would also like to acknowledge the support of all our sponsors, especially Fuchs, who have been with us for seven years, Sprint Gas and all of the others, plus give a special mention to original founders Steve Reed and Trevor Ashby, who have been very much a part of the fabric of this team.”