Triple Eight considers two-car Dunlop Series program
V8 Supercars heavyweight Triple Eight Race Engineering could expand its presence in the Dunlop Series to two cars next season.
Managing director Roland Dane has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that he is considering expanding his junior squad, having complimented its V8 Supercars Championship entries by running a Monster Energy-backed Commodore in the second-tier series for the past two years.
Like all of its main series rivals, Triple Eight has spent recent months planning the scaling back of its inventory of current specification vehicles ahead of the Car of the Future’s introduction next season.
While the team has already sold the cars currently being raced by Craig Lowndes (888-025) and Scott Pye (888-027) to Dunlop Series regulars Geoff Emery and Tony Bates, Dane says he’s likely to have the remaining cars (888-023) and (888-028) available for a two-car assault.
“We’ve got our head around running in the Development Series, so I don’t see it as unrealistic that we could end up running two cars in the Development Series next year,” Dane told Speedcafe.com.
“I think you’ll find that in all probability we’ll run at least one, and maybe two. I’ve kept enough hardware in our stable to be able to do that.”
Triple Eight’s current Dunlop Series rookie Scott Pye is almost certain to return to the class next year, having signed a two-year deal with the organisation prior to the start of the 2012 season.
Entering the series fresh from a Triple Eight-supported stint in European open-wheel racing, Pye has enjoyed a promising start to his V8 Supercars career, sitting third in the standings with a race win, two overall podiums and two pole positions.
“There is a very high probability that Scott will continue in the DVS, if he isn’t driving in the main category,” said Dane.
“You can see the guys he’s racing against at the moment have all had a year-plus start on him in the Development Series.
“Chaz Mostert has had over a year, Ash Walsh is in a similar boat, Scott McLaughlin has done a couple of years and Nick Percat has been around for a while.
“Scott (Pye) is really the rookie in there, and more than holding his own.”
Pye will contest the V8 Supercars endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst with Taz Douglas in the #30 iSelect Commodore VE.
Triple Eight’s recent announcement that its championship team will be sponsored by Red Bull next year has fuelled speculation that the Red Bull-supported retiring Australian MotoGP star Casey Stoner could appear in a Triple Eight V8 Supercar next year.
While Stoner would make for a popular entry in the Dunlop Series next year, Dane referred to it as “pure speculation.”
“Any talk of that is pure, unfounded speculation,” said Dane of Stoner.
Dane’s comments echo those made by Stoner in recent days – the 27-year-old telling media that he intends to “stay home and watch my little girl grow up” in 2013.