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MSR confirms Supercars expansion, closing in on drivers

Tom Howard

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Wednesday 23rd October, 2019 - 12:57pm

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Matt Stone Racing will expand to two cars next year

Matt Stone Racing has confirmed its expansion to two cars while revealing that it has one of its seats already locked way for 2020.

As previously reported, it has been expected the Queensland squad would move to a two car model next season courtesy of a deal to secure one of Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Racing Entitlement Contracts.

That deal has now been confirmed by team owner Matt Stone with the team having purchased the GRM entry to go alongside the REC it has bought from Kelly Racing.

It represents a milestone moment for the Yatala squad which is now set to operate two Holden ZB Commodores in 2020.

They will follow in the footsteps of Tekno Autosports, as part of the Sydney team, and Team 18 in moving to two cars next year.

“Look, it’s a big step but we’ve decided that Supercars is where we want to be and I think with Tekno doing what they’re doing and Charlie (Schwerkolt, Team 18 owner) doing what he’s doing, it’s the death of the single-car team and we’ve sort of followed suit and trying to have a big play at making the two-car model work well for us,” Stone told Speedcafe.com.

“We’ve purchased the REC off Garry Rogers so obviously the commercial side of it, we’ll leave out of it, but yes, we have purchased it, not leased it.”

Stone has also admitted that he is only in the driver market for his second entry, with a deal secured for one of the seats.

The team owner remained tight-lipped on the identity but has previously stated a desire for an experienced driver, with the second REC earmarked for a driver share program should Supercars ratify the scheme.

Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade has been heavily linked to the team in recent weeks.

“We’ve got one seat locked away. Obviously I’m not in a position to tell you who that is, but we only have one seat up for grabs essentially, but that’s that one,” said Stone.

“Look, our biggest thing at the moment is we’ve got a few different ways of doing it next year, and we’re evaluating them to decide exactly how we position it.

“We probably weren’t quite at a point where we were ready to release all of our plans but with the nature of the REC deadline, we’ve decided to get the REC so that we can have that piece of the puzzle sorted, but we’re probably not quite ready to release our plans, but definitely that was factored in but it’s not a certainty.

“We obviously had been looking at expanding and the REC’s one piece of the puzzle, the driver or drivers is obviously quite a large piece of the puzzle, so we’ll definitely be having a lot of conversations there and we haven’t got anything locked away as of yet.

“We’re hoping to, over the coming weeks, get our whole program lined up so that we can make a big release and show all of the pieces of the puzzle to the world.”

The details regarding the acquisition of a second Commodore are yet to be finalised.

“We’ve got a couple of different options, different ways of doing it. Obviously our current ZB, we got straight off the track from Triple Eight, so that’s worked out well for us this year but we haven’t finalised our plans around that second car, as of yet,” he added.

Meanwhile, Stone has also confirmed that his team is assessing its options in Super2 and Super3 for next year.

“Super3, we will continue to operate, business as usual; Super2, we’re working on now, whether or not we step out of that for a year to make sure we’re putting all our resources into the expansion, and then if we decided to do that, we would come back strong into Super2, the following year,” said Stone.

“There’s also obviously some things going on with Super2 and Super3 so we’re kind of not a hundred percent sure of the landscape there, so we’re kind of just sitting on the sideline, focus on our two-car expansion, and we’ll look at that (Super2) when the dust settles.”

The team will be back in action this weekend at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 which begins on Friday.

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