Despite the picture we may have painted so far, a V8 Supercars garage isn’t exclusive to hairy and dishevelled men. At Red Bull Racing Australia, the person behind the real orders is, you guessed it, a girl! Enter matriarch of the team, Mel Harvey.
Yep, even RD and ATB are at the mercy of Miss Harvey’s calling and her Book of Spells… Oops, sorry, her Book of Schedules that details the requirements and movements of absolutely everyone in the garage pretty much down to the second – except her, come to think of it…
Q: You’re known in the RBRA garage as the team mum. What does your job actually involve?
A: I’m the team coordinator, so, um… juggling? Haha. Basically, I look after the team’s travel arrangements, coordinate the scheduling for races and assist Adrian with the back-of-house paperwork like entries, accreditation, etc. I also moonlight as the resident coffee barrister, or maybe I should say coffee consumer! In a typical day on track I can be helping at breakfast, buying race tyres, issuing safety gear to the crew, sorting drivers’ kits, attending autograph sessions or corporate visits, helping with pit tours, putting guests in the cars for rides, running to buy stock or collecting people from airports. The list goes on and on and on. So yeah, perhaps my title should change to team mum.
Q: It takes a game woman to push RD around – many have failed… How did you come to run the Triple Eight show?
A: I joined Triple Eight at the start of the 2012 season. The best description of how I got here would be the combination of right place, right time, with the right experience. Plus the right previous boss! How I came to be in motor sport in general, well that’s a whole other story…
A: You asked for it! Originally I studied hospitality and event management and spent several years working in different hotels and resorts. That was my “real job”. Throughout that time I was also a professional dancer for 10 years. No, not that type of dancer. I was the triple-pirouette-in-point-shoes kind – minds out of the gutter people, please. I was privileged enough to work on everything from fashion awards in Papua New Guinea to massive dance parties in China and magic shows in Japan. When I decided it was time to hang up my points, my management skills and qualifications took me to this same role at DJR, where I worked for almost seven years.
Q: Keeping ATB in order no doubt… So if you hadn’t joined the V8 circus, what would you be doing?
A: What? You mean there’s life outside of V8 Supercars? Stop it! I’d probably still be working overseas somewhere.
Q: Doing your dream job?
A: I wish. My dream job would be one that would pay me to travel, shop and drink wine. Oh wait, that’s basically what I do now minus the actual workload! Haha.
Q: So being the emergency contact in every team members’ phone, you must be able to tell us something about the big bosses we don’t know?
A: A mum never tells her kids’ secrets – so it’s lucky I’m not a real mum! But, it has been rumoured that a certain couple of people may need to be kept away from tattoo parlours and fire extinguishers. But it’s only a rumour…
Q: Let’s hope those certain two people aren’t reading this then! And what’s your most embarrassing moment with the team?
A: Oh dear… It would have to be when I was literally dragged up on the bar in Coyote Ugly in Austin (by the barmaid, not the guys) and was shouted at to dance in front of the whole team, plus creepy onlookers – in flip flops, with a broken toe and long before finishing my first drink. You probably get the picture, and it was not pretty! The only salvation was the creepy onlookers then buying me drinks. It helped to numb the pain – the pain from my toe and the pain of embarrassment.
Q: And finally, we’ve asked the guys this question and if they had their way the team would be run by Victoria’s Secret models. However, if you could replace RD, Jamie or Craig with a celebrity, who would it be and why?
A: Best I even the score then! Hmm, can I only replace one? To keep it fair, I’d swap all three and go with Will Ferrell for comedic relief, Channing Tatum for tech support (even if he knows nothing about IT!) and Josh Duhamel for… actually, just because I can. We Triple Eight ladies also appreciate the eye-candy. Sorry boys!