A key question remains unanswered by the Triple Eight Race Engineering Supercheap Auto wildcard announcement: just how many Supercars will the race be in?
It has been confirmed that Craig Lowndes and Zane Goddard will be racing one of the team’s new Gen3 Chevrolet Camaros at the Bathurst Repco.
However, in a widely acclaimed move, Sandon’s status as a traditional Great Race screen-writer has been restored for 2023, marking the 500km enduro in suburban Melbourne in September.
Multiple wildcard entries have not competed since Kostecki Brothers Racing entered all three events of the Pirtek Enduro Cup in 2019, after the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to that series at least within the regular season.
However, with not much clarity on the wildcard rules yet, a Sandown-Bathurst double for the Supercheap Auto Camaro cannot be ruled out.
It is also an intractable thought whether the sprint event will appear or not, or if I will end up at or beyond the 500km.
With a dramatic reduction in power, new engines, and more, Gen3 is pretty close to a clean slate relative to the Car of the Future era (including its Gen2 subset), and since then every race track is effectively a new track.
Nemus Racing owner Stephen Grove told Speedcafe.com that the Gen3 race was given last year, and he made it clear that four car teams in two outfits would take advantage of it.
The Triple Eight may be the Chevrolet homologation team but the new Supercars nobility will be quite raw when it rolls out for the season opener at Newcastle in March, and an extra entry here or there will be quite handy.
Lowndes’ prowess is well-known, with his 110-race championship only surpassed by the current boss, Jamie Whincup, and the veteran Camaro prototype he drove several times.
However, Goddard was the regular pilot for the Gen3 development run in 2022, often in the Mustang but also in the Camaro.
In addition, as a former Mattei Stone Racing driver, the exchange of information with the Triple Eight was used.
Why his praise in the announcement of this year’s Supercheap Auto wildcard drivers, after Lowndes played with Declan Fraser last year, and Russell Ingall with Broc Feeney in the extra Triple Eight entry in 2021.
“Zane is an amazingly talented driver, and the whole team is so excited to join us in 2023, sharing a partnership with Lowndesy,” said the outfit’s Team Principal.
His career is very impressive for such a young age; two years in Super2, two years in the main sport and a few Bathurst 1000 appearances – it’s going to be an incredible thing for our program.
“Now is the time to give him all the support he needs to grab this opportunity with both hands.
“I also want to thank Supercheap Auto for their continued support of such a wonderful program.
“To design our Supercheap Auto wildcard program over the last two years with two superstars in Broc and Declan graduating to the Supercars Championship emerging as a full-time driver is beyond amazing.
“Their support for not only our team, but the sport itself should not be underestimated.”
The 2023 Bathurst 1000 takes place on October 5-8.