Co-driver clarity at top end of town

Triple Eight and Dick Johnson Racing are yet to formally announce any of their 2022 co-drivers. Picture: Ross Gibb

Red Bull Ampol Racing and Shell V-Power Racing Team are not expected to spring any surprises despite remaining tight-lipped on the co-driver front.

Unusually, both of the Repco Supercars Championship’s two leading teams are still yet to announce their extended line-ups for the Bathurst 1000 in October.

However, can reveal the state of play for the homologation teams on each side of the brand divide.

At Dick Johnson Racing, Tony D’Alberto is understood to be a certainty for a seventh successive Great Race start in a Shell Ford.

The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia series leader has been spotted in DJR uniform and around the garage on multiple occasions this year including at the recent Albert Park event.

It’s not yet clear who he will partner, nor who his fellow co-driver will be.

IndyCar Series front-runner Scott McLaughlin has voiced his interest to return for another shot at The Mountain, while Alex Davison turned laps earlier this year in his brother Will’s #17 Mustang.

Triple Eight Race Engineering will again field Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes, but with the latter switching to a wildcard entry.

The front-runners to partner Lowndes in the third ZB Commodore are Triple Eight’s Super2 duo Declan Fraser and Cameron Hill, which would make for a blend of youth and experience akin to the squad’s Supercheap Auto-backed effort last year involving Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney.

Just this month, 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion Hill tasted victory at Mount Panorama, winning the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.

A decision on the wildcard’s primary driver is expected to set off a chain reaction of T8 announcements, including retired full-timer Jamie Whincup also being confirmed for a return behind the wheel.

Whincup has enjoyed occasional on-track outings this year, including for Gen3 testing at Queensland Raceway, and as part of the Ultimate Speed Comparison exhibition at the Australian Grand Prix.

Only three teams have formally locked in their full Bathurst rosters, namely Tickford Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, and Erebus Motorsport.

Brad Jones Racing has announced three-quarters of its co-drivers, while Michael Caruso last season joined Team 18 on a two-year deal.

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