Newcastle Supercars team plan far from done deal

Aaren Russell revived his season in the Pirtek Enduro Cup alongside Andre Heimgartner in the Plus Fitness LDM Commodore

A project to establish a single-car team based in Newcastle this season remains very much up in the air.

Financial constraints have seen moves to lease or purchase a Racing Entitlements Contract (REC) stall.

However those behind the plan are not yet prepared to wave the white flag as the start of the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season looms.

John Fuller, the founder of successful national gym franchise, Plus Fitness, began moves last year to field the team under the Novocastrian Motorsport banner of Wayne Russell.

The youngest of Russell’s sons, Aaren Russell, is earmarked to drive the entry after he was groomed in the main game initially as a full-timer for Erebus before that deal fell over in mid-2016.

After the Erebus association came to an end, Russell re-emerged as co-driver with Andre Heimgartner at LDM for the enduros with full Plus Fitness backing.

Securing what is believed to be the final part of funding and sourcing REC are believed to be among the key stumbling blocks which have hampered progress.

Acquiring one of LDM’s RECs was said to be one of the options open to Fuller and Russell, however the Melbourne-based team’s plans remain far from clear.

Commercial support from Newcastle was being seen as vital to Novocastrian’s plans however that, too, is believed to have hit roadblocks.

The coastal NSW city will host its maiden Supercars event from November 24-26, replacing the Sydney 500 which was established in 2009 at the Olympics venue, as the season closing round.

Wayne Russell says the bid remains focussed on exploring its opportunities although he concedes it could be now a case of co-drives or a wildcard rather than a full-season entry.

“We are still looking at the opportunities. We are just waiting to see what transpires,” Russell told Speedcafe.com.

“All we can do is keep looking at the options that are open to us.

“All the gods would have to align very, very quickly and a lot of money would have to come into play which we don’t have.

“I never say never but it just is what it is.”

 

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