Team Kiwi Racing eyeing shock Supercars return
Thursday 17th June, 2021 - 6:00am
Team Kiwi Racing is targeting a surprise return to the Supercars grid with a wildcard effort in this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
Team owner David John has confirmed to Speedcafe.com he has an agreement in place with Brad Jones Racing to run a wildcard in this year’s Great Race.
That would see a combined effort between TKR and BJR to field a Holden ZB Commodore, taking the Albury-based squad to five cars in the famed endurance event.
Rumours of a BJR wildcard have swirled the Supercars paddock for months, though the team has deflected such suggestions recently.
Speedcafe.com understands a wildcard entry has been submitted by BJR for the Bathurst 1000.
When approached by Speedcafe.com, Jones declined to discuss his team’s links to a possible deal with TKR.
However, speaking with Speedcafe.com, John said he has the funding and has made a commitment to Jones.
“Brad is the one we’ve made the commitment to that we’re happy to go ahead,” John told Speedcafe.com.
“And he’s obviously got the wildcard that’s there and we’ve made our commitment known to him.
“We are 100 percent ready to go and I guess it’s now really about getting Darwin out of the way for us all to move forward.”
At least one driver in the wildcard looks to be locked in, that being Super2 Series front runner Jordan Boys.
Boys drove for BJR in last year’s Bathurst 1000 with Todd Hazelwood and it is understood he was promised a second straight campaign for 2021.
On the other side of the picture is which Kiwi driver TKR may look to field.
John said there is no shortage of drivers from New Zealand wanting to compete in Australia’s biggest race.
The team boss has a shortlist of drivers in line for the seat, with his two top picks current Superlicence holders.
That leaves a few options on the table, given the Superlicence was only introduced by Motorsport Australia in 2017.
Five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Steven Richards, three-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Chris van der Drift, and incumbent Supercars DSA Craig Baird are eligible for a Superlicence.
Speedcafe.com understands John approached van der Drift to drive for him, though it is believed he declined the offer.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia winner Jaxon Evans is another young Kiwi driver who meets the criteria having accumulated enough points for a Superlicence.
While an experienced head could be the way the team goes, John said he recognised the team’s role in bringing talent through.
TKR played a part in the careers of established names Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard, and Andre Heimgartner as well as the likes of Chris Pither, Baird, and the late Jason Richards.
“It’s not hard for us to find a Kiwi driver that is going to jump at the opportunity,” said John.
“The cool thing is, right now in that championship, and I think a lot of people forget it, is that every Kiwi driver in that championship was assisted and got their start over there [in Australia] with Team Kiwi Racing.
“I think Supercars misses that point quite a bit. Everyone here [in New Zealand] sees that.
“But we would like to think there’s some more Supercar time for Team Kiwi Racing and here’s an opportunity that could potentially see us on the grid.”
John had sought to field the pair in a BJR-run entry, though a deal with the Albury-based team fell over late in the piece due to extenuating circumstances.
A last-minute arrangement was then made for TKR to use a Triple Eight Race Engineering car.
Ultimately, the wildcard wouldn’t come to fruition, John at the time citing insufficient funds and a short turnaround for the hastily organised programme with the Banyo-based team.
If the wildcard does come together, it would take the 2021 Bathurst 1000 grid to 27 cars.
Earlier this year Triple Eight Race Engineering announced a wildcard with Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney backed by Supercheap Auto.
Meanwhile, Erebus Motorsport will run Boost Mobile supported duo Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway.