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Mercedes F1 look for Blanchard Perth wildcard

Tom Howard

Friday 26th April, 2019 - 3:00pm

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Tim Blanchard’s Petronas backed wildcard

Tim Blanchard will sport the colours made famous by the Mercedes Formula 1 team courtesy of oil giant Petronas which will back his Pirtek Perth SuperNight wildcard.

Blanchard will return to the Supercars grid for a one-off solo outing next week, just five months after announcing his retirement from full-time racing in the category.

The Team CoolDrive team owner will jump aboard a Brad Jones Racing ZB Commodore run for Jack Smith during a wildcard run at Symmons Plains.

It has undergone a significant facelift with the car now in a resplendent silver, black and aqua colour scheme which follows that used by the Petronas-backed Mercedes F1 team.

The similarities continue with Blanchard running under the same #77 used by Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas.

Petronas’ involvement has arrived through its relationship with the Blanchard owned CoolDrive automotive stores which act as the Australian distributor for the oils.

The brand has twice appeared on Blanchard’s #21 Supercar at the Australian Grand Prix meeting.

Meanwhile, the experienced Paul Scalzo will engineer the car.

“Petronas obviously have a great passion for motorsport as shown by their involvement with Mercedes in Formula 1. I am thrilled to be partnering with them for their first foray into the Virgin Australia Supercar Series,” said Blanchard.

“It was good to be back at the workshop this week, doing the pre-brief with the team and making sure we are set to hit the ground running when we arrive to Perth.

“I’ll be working with engineer Paul Scalzo who has been an integral part of the BJR crew for a number of years plus we’ve got a good crew working on the Petronas Motorsport car.

“For all involved it has been business as usual and everyone is excited to get the weekend underway.”

Blanchard’s Supercars return will arrive under lights at the newly resurfaced Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway which is likely to provide an extra challenge.

“We head across to the event knowing the track has recently been resurfaced, so we’re expecting to see a few differences in some of the kerbs and old bumps that used to be there,” Blanchard added.

“It’ll change the way we set up the cars heading into the weekend, and hopefully we’ll be getting around there a little faster than what we used to. I’m excited to go racing again.” 

The #77 Petronas Motorsport ZB Commodore will hit the track for the first time on Thursday when opening practice begins at 1840 local time. 

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