Recently re-signed Brad Jones Racing driver Todd Hazelwood says he can see himself staying with the Albury outfit for years to come.
Off the back of a two-year spell at Matt Stone Racing in 2018 and 2019, the 25-year-old joined the Jones-owned operation at the start of 2020 in the #14 Holden ZB Commodore.
In only his third full season in the Supercars Championship, the Adelaide-born driver recorded a breakout podium and his maiden pole position in Sydney and Townsville respectively.
Hazelwood ended his 2020 campaign as the second best of the Brad Jones Racing entries in 17th while team-mate Percat was seventh.
His breakthrough podium in Sydney was followed by a slump in the Darwin double-header, which was only resolved by the end of the double-header in Townsville.
In all, he claimed six top 10 finishes in a season that he described as a building year.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com following his re-signing, Hazelwood believes stability is the ke to long-term success.
“It’s certainly got that feel about it,” Hazelwood said whether he saw a long-term future at Brad Jones Racing.
“I think that echoes with the position that Nick Percat is in now. He started out coming from a larger team and into BJR. Now, for him to be locked away for numerous years, I think really speaks volumes of how good it is to be at BJR.
“The team environment is fantastic. Everyone gets along, and most importantly, everyone gives their absolute all to ensure that the cars are well prepared and we’re fast come race day. So nothing gets left unturned.
“That’s something from a driver’s point of view that you want. You want to have a great crew around you because, although there’s a lot of emphasis on the driver, you need to have the best personnel around you to do the job as well.
“To me, that’s been a big part of my decision and I’m very happy moving into the future. There’s a lot of potential there and I feel like all the fruit is there and ready to go if we get it right.”
With a fourth season cemented, Hazelwood said he’s keen to reap the rewards of a stable line-up.
He’ll once again be joined by Percat in the Brad Jones Racing stable and will drive the same chassis as he ran throughout the 2020 season.
“I’ve driven four different chassis in three years of racing in the Supercars championship,” said the Super2 Series winner.
“To actually start my fourth year driving the same chassis, the same geometry with the same crew for the second year in a row is a big benefit for me. It’s the first time in my Supercars career I’ve had that.
“Continuity is a big thing. This year has certainly been a learning season and now it’s important that we capitalise on what we’ve learned this year, going into 2021.
“We have all the knowledge up our sleeve and aim for more consistency, because I think the results show that when we’re fast it was really good.
“Our consistency and results were a bit up and down and that’s just mainly due to trying to maximise the speed in the car, and then when you’re making changes, sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong.
“Ultimately, going into next year, we’ll iron those bugs out the way and really hit the ground running.”
With the silly season in full swing and driver movements up and down the pit lane, Hazelwood sees a stable line-up on his side of the Brad Jones Racing stable as a positive.
“Going into next season, there’s a lot of movement up and down pit lane,” he explained.
“For us a team to have some good stability we’ve built with our engineering group and our driver lineup all staying consistent, and that bodes well for us as a team.
“I think having a consistent lineup, particularly with Nick and I who have been working closely together, and pace is showing that on our good days that we’re just as fast as each other and that all bodes well for improving the team and keep growing moving forward.
“I think having that stability going into year two is going to certainly be a massive benefit to me as a driver, but also for the team too.
“Year one is very much a learning year and year two is where you put it all together. And, for me, it feels like back in 2016, my Super2 program, it was my first time driving a Car of the Future chassis, and at year two, we’ve put that learning together, we won races, we understood what we needed to do and we had a really consistent campaign and we won a championship.
“So for me, that’s what 2020 felt like. It was a bit up and down. We had our good moments, we also had some bad moments. We had a bit of bad luck on our side, which hurt our championship points, but that all bodes well for 2021.
“All the right elements are there to succeed. Now we just need to put it all together. And hopefully that puts us in a position where we can be a serious contender and the name to watch in 2021.”