MSR in the throes of locking down Bathurst co-drivers

Matt Stone Racing will test at Queensland Raceway with its co-drivers later this month. Picture: Christian Hartung

Matt Stone Racing is planning to have its Bathurst 1000 co-driver line-up cemented by the end of this month, the team has confirmed.

The Yatala-based outfit will test at its home circuit, Queensland Raceway, with both of its co-drivers in late June.

Although team owner Matt Stone wouldn’t be drawn on who will race alongside Todd Hazelwood and Jack Le Brocq, a mix of youth and experience has been targeted.

“We’re in the final stages of locking them away and we should hopefully have it done pretty soon,” Stone told Speedcafe.com following a ride day at Queensland Raceway on Tuesday.

“It’s always been our modus operandi to look at the young up-and-coming talent and certainly, we’re looking at that now.

“We’re also balancing. We’ve had some rookies at Bathurst for their first ever 1000 and it hasn’t always gone to plan.

“We’re balancing up young talent versus a little bit of experience and trying to find a happy balance there.”

Last year the team campaigned Jayden Ojeda and Kurt Kostecki alongside its then primary drivers Zane Goddard and Jake Kostecki, the latter three of whom are in the Tickford Racing fold this year.

Ojeda has yet to secure a seat for the Bathurst 1000, but is in the midst of a series of wildcard appearances with Walkinshaw Andretti United at sprint events.

Matt Stone Racing has two drivers in its Super2 Series ranks – Aaron Seton and Ryal Harris – who could conceivably be in the mix.

Earlier this year, Stone said he hadn’t ruled out Harris for a Bathurst 1000, despite being in only his first Super2 Series campaign.

Effectively, there are only five co-driver slots unaccounted for.

Brad Jones Racing has yet to announce who will partner Jack Smith and the two seats at PremiAir Racing alongside Chris Pither and Garry Jacobson are also vacant.

Free agents Cameron Hill, Tyler Everingham, and Harri Jones all tested with the team this week at Queensland Raceway.

Triple Eight Race Engineering hasn’t officially announced its line-up, although it’s expected Jamie Whincup will partner Broc Feeney and Garth Tander will join Shane van Gisbergen in its Red Bull Ampol entries.

Although Matt Stone Racing only finalised its 2021 roster in November, the team boss said their 2022 plans are still some way behind schedule.

“We planned on having it done much earlier, but with so much going on with the landscape at the moment… we’ve never really been one of the teams to lock them away super early like some of the others do,” said Stone.

“That’s probably something we’re transitioning more towards in the future. Hopefully we’ll get these ones locked away sooner rather than later so that we can get the benefit of our next test day and then obviously we’ve got our pre-Bathurst test day later in the season.

“Having both co-drivers at those test days should help us come the 1000.”

The 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 takes place across October 6-9.

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