CLICK HERE for more information on issue #105.
Munday arrives at 23 Red Racing in his Porsche 911 GTS. It’s just a fill-in until he gets his brand-new 911 GT2. He wanders into the workshop and inspects the VW Kombis (note plural) that he has under restoration and chats to the blokes who are working on them.
He’s just come from his boutique brewery, where he and wife Caroline have had lunch with Russell and Julia Ingall.
Munday and Caroline also made the trip to his first Indianapolis 500 with Will Davison and his partner Rihanna Crehan. This seems like the life and as we shake hands Phil’s certainly got his usual smile on his face and twinkle in his eye.
So why, having retired at 60 from a highly successful and obviously profitable 41-year career in the smash-repair business, has he decided to take on the challenge, the responsibility and the headaches of being a Supercars team owner?
“I retired at the end of June last year,” he explains. “I have been on the rev limiter in business for 40 years and to come to a halt and do nothing was almost impossible for me.”
You may not have heard much about Munday before he took a majority stake in Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport (LDM) in 2017 and renamed it 23 Red Racing, but the reality is he’s been around in motorsport for decades.
Munday’s profile began growing when he became a major sponsor of LDM six years ago, especially in 2014 when his former business Repair Management Australia took naming rights when Ingall was doing the driving.
Some of the biggest names in racing in Australia are Munday’s mates and perhaps the biggest of them all, the late, great Peter Brock, was an especially close friend. Phil even built the 48-215 Holden he raced at the Goodwood Festival.
“He was one of a kind and could drive everything; you give him anything and he could wring its neck when anyone else couldn’t do it,” says Munday.
“It was just a tragedy to lose him like that, we’ve all got to go but that was too early. My memories of PB are fantastic, just some of the things we did and fun we had together. He was a true people person, you just never saw him shun a spectator or a fan.”
Munday tries to live by the same ethos. In pitlane his typical pose is a big smile and a deep conversation. He seems to know everyone and be on good terms with most of them.
A Holden man in his blood (but pragmatic enough to swap to Ford this year, even though it hurts), Munday raced Sports Sedans in his early 20s until family and business pressures forced him to give it up. But he never lost his love of high-octane motorsport.
His touring cars/Supercars sponsorship career stretches back to the late 1990s when he first backed his good mate Rod Nash’s privateer Commodore. It’s no surprise that 23 Red Racing is now a technical customer of the business Nash part-owns, Tickford Racing, or that Munday sold the Ford team one of LDM’s two RECs.
Munday has completely transformed LDM. Initially, he took a 60 per cent stake in the business and Dumbrell kept a 40 per cent share. But Munday’s since bought the quadriplegic former racer out and kept him on as a consultant. It’s important to stress this was an amicable buy-out, says Munday.
“I just thought he didn’t need the mental stress of being a part-owner of a Supercars team. But I still wanted him to be part of it,” he adds.
“I love him to bits, I think he’s amazing. He is one in a hundred million guy. What he can do with the limited movement he has... he is totally underestimated for what he has achieved in his short life. He is an amazing inspirational person. I hope people respect his contribution to motorsport.”
Munday’s also swapped from aged Triple Eight Commodores to a Tickford Falcon FG X, moved the team to one of his factories in Melbourne’s outer east, hired Davison on a three-year deal and brought Supercars veteran Rob Crawford in to run the show.
Rob Palermo has been drafted in on contract as Davison’s race engineer. All up the team has nine employees, six of them ex-LDM.
Munday’s also added a Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia program for promising youngster Luis Leeds (Palermo also engineers that program), bought a second FG X from Tickford as a spare and confirmed the team will upgrade to a Mustang for 2019. A Dunlop Super2 Series program is also on the cards for 2019, most likely with Leeds driving.
CLICK HERE to purchase issue #105 within Australia to read the feature.
CLICK HERE to purchase issue #105 within New Zealand to read the feature.
CLICK HERE to purchase issue #105 for the rest of the world to read the feature.
CLICK HERE to find where to purchase issue #105 at your nearest store.
CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #105 to read the feature.