Ojeda ‘showed up a few of the haters’ with wildcard drives

Jayden Ojeda. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

Jayden Ojeda hopes a wildcard campaign described by Ryan Walkinshaw as “really, really good” can put him in good stead to graduate full-time into the Repco Supercars Championship.

Ojeda’s pair of solo events for Walkinshaw Andretti United were headlined by 17th place finishes in the Saturday races at both Winton and Darwin, also managing to break into Qualifying 2 at the first of those locations.

While those numbers mightn’t sound spectacular, they are certainly respectable in an ultra-competitive 27-car field – and put him clearly ahead of rival wildcards Jordan Boys (Image Racing/Erebus Motorsport) and Zak Best (Tickford Racing).

“I think he’s showed up a few of the haters, to be honest,” Walkinshaw told Speedcafe.com.

“He managed to qualify quite well for someone doing a wildcard and raced quite well.

“At one point before the last couple of laps in Darwin, I think he got to P12 or P14 which was pretty decent at a difficult track and different conditions, and running with really an inexperienced crew, so I think those guys did a really, really good job.”

Walkinshaw doubled down on his previous comments to Speedcafe.com that more teams should run wildcards because “more cars on track is better for everyone” and “it’s a great way to blood young drivers into the main game”.

He added that he hopes to see Ojeda use the WAU outings to springboard towards bigger and better things.

Ojeda himself reflected positively on the experience and reserved thanks for WAU running a proper three-car team (alongside regulars Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat) to include him at every opportunity.

Ojeda in the #27 Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

“At the end of the day, although you’re competing against the guys that do it full-time – that was our main focus, was trying to see how far up amongst those guys you can get – but obviously it was good to be quicker and knock off the counterpart in the wildcard as well,” Ojeda told Speedcafe.com.

Known as ‘The Juice’, the big question is: what’s next?

The 22-year-old, who is not contesting the 2022 Dunlop Super2 Series, is yet to be announced for a third Repco Bathurst 1000 start.

Logically, he could continue for a second successive year with Matt Stone Racing, which has not announced either of its co-drivers.

The co-driver market is set to take a late twist too, with James Golding tipped to forego his Great Race role at Team 18 to replace Garry Jacobson for the remaining seven rounds at PremiAir Racing.

“Hopefully there’s something not too far away, but yeah I guess focus goes into that now that the wildcards are done and we’ll see what happens,” Ojeda said of his co-driving prospects.

And then there’s 2023.

“This [wildcard campaign] is as good an opportunity to launch yourself into the next step in my career,” he noted.

“Hopefully it puts me one step closer to getting into the main game next year; we’ll just have to wait and see how all the cards play out.”

Ojeda was runner-up to Broc Feeney in 2019 Super3, and was the leading Super2 rookie the following year – ahead of the now Red Bull Ampol Racing young gun.

His Bathurst 1000 debut came with Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2020 alongside Tyler Everingham, while he and Zane Goddard last year looked set to deliver MSR a fine result at The Mountain before crashing out.

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