Blanchard edging closer to 2018 decision
Tim Blanchard says he is close to reaching a decision regarding his future in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship next year.
The Brad Jones Racing driver has indicated that he may step down from his seat in the #21 entry underpinned by a Racing Entitlements Contract purchased by the Blanchard family last year.
Blanchard, who won the 2007 Australian Formula Ford crown, is contesting his fourth full-time campaign in Supercars’ top tier.
The 30-year-old has struggled to shine in the category with a 21st overall finish in 2015 his best season to date.
A challenging season sees Blanchard currently sitting 23rd in the standings, after a crash involving co-driver Todd Hazelwood ruled the entry out of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 before Sunday’s race.
Blanchard says he is working towards a decision and has hinted that Dunlop Super2 driver Macauley Jones is likely to take over the seat, should he elect to stand down.
“Ultimately it is my decision and I’m pretty close to making that,” Blanchard told Speedcafe.com.
“I have just got to talk through it with Brad Jones (team owner).
“Brad has been really supportive and I have had a number of chats throughout the year with him regarding what I want to do. I think we are pretty close.
“We are planning on staying at BJR and that is the most logical choice and that (Macauley taking over the seat) is what is most likely if I stepped down.
“A lot of it depends on what I do. Macauley is looking to step up and at the moment Brad has three cars and three drivers in the main series, so there is not really an opportunity for him at the moment.
“But I’m sure if one of those cars becomes free Brad will be looking to move Macauley into that seat.
“I have never stopped enjoying it that is for sure.
“I think we have taken a step forward in terms of competitiveness heading into Sandown.
“We have got some really exciting things happening at BJR and I think the future is going to be bright.”
Team owner Brad Jones has indicated that he expects Blanchard to commit for another season, while confirming that Macauley Jones would be in the box seat to land the drive if it becomes vacant.
“He (Tim Blanchard) hasn’t made a final decision yet but I feel, it is always hard when you are a driver, when you stop, you stop for a long time,” Jones told Fox Sports.
“I think he will probably go around again, but he needs to talk with his family a little bit more.
“There is no pressure on him either way, if he wants to stop we have someone to drop into his car, if he wants to keep on going for another year that is his deal and his REC and that is his choice.
“That would be Macauley. That is my plan.
“We will see. At some point I would like to give Macca the opportunity to run in the main game.”
BJR is currently preparing a new chassis for Blanchard and co-driver Todd Hazelwood for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 (October 5-8).