SVG: Goddard “unfairly smashed” for 2022 Bathurst crash
Sunday 28th May, 2023 - 2:04pm
Shane van Gisbergen has declared that new Triple Eight Race Engineering team-mate Zane Goddard was “unfairly smashed” for the multi-car crash which he caused in last year’s Great Race.
The 23-year-old will drive the #888 Supercheap Auto Chevrolet Camaro in both of this year’s enduros, with Craig Lowndes, as well as next month’s Betr Darwin Triple Crown, his first Supercars event as a solo driver since November 2021.
In his most recent Supercars event in general, Goddard came in for heavy criticism when he destroyed three entries’ Mount Panorama campaigns, including his and his primary driver James Courtney’s, before they had completed a full racing (green flag) lap.
Having started in the #5 Tickford Racing entry, Goddard attempted to pass Greg Murphy for sixth at The Chase on Lap 5, but locked a brake and ran off into an outfield which had been left sodden from heavy rain earlier in the weekend.
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He slithered through the mud and re-entered the track approximately perpendicular to circuit direction, taking out Dale Wood in Andre Heimgartner’s Brad Jones Racing car before being shunted at high speed by Matt Campbell in David Reynolds’ Grove Racing entry.
Heimgartner called for drivers to “get their shit together”, Murphy suggested the incident was “complete madness”, before van Gisbergen, just after finishing the race, generally slated “co-drivers with something to prove” for causing early chaos, and a fine of $10,000 (half suspended) for an unsafe rejoin would be issued post-race.
Goddard admitted the incident was “completely my fault”, even if he refuted comments that he must have stayed in the throttle, and, a week after the fact, Murphy expressed sympathy over the criticism which had rained down on the young Queenslander.
Now, he has a chance to rejuvenate his Supercars career in a genuine Triple Eight entry, after Lowndes and Declan Fraser combined for eighth, a record for a wildcard, in the Supercheap Auto car at Mount Panorama last year.
“I think this programme is awesome,” said van Gisbergen at last night’s high-profile launch of the Supercheap Auto wildcard campaign on the banks of the Brisbane River.
“Firstly, because Craig is still able to perform at Bathurst – he loves that – and to have him there every year and see how re-energised he is every year is awesome.
“For Declan, it gave him the opportunity to go and do bigger things, it gave him a good shot for his first Bathurst, and then now he’s full-time.
“For Zane, it’s a bit of redemption. He got unfairly smashed, in my opinion, for what happened last year, his mistake.
“Then this year, he gets mentoring by Craig and then an opportunity in a great car to go and have a go at the race.”
Fraser, who would go on to win the 2022 Dunlop Super2 Series with Triple Eight, eventually landed a full-time drive at Tickford Racing, while Broc Feeney had already been signed to replace Jamie Whincup when he and Russell Ingall paired up in the Supercheap Auto wildcard in 2021.
All three Triple Eight cars, including co-drivers, will test at Queensland Raceway this Thursday, before the Hidden Valley event takes place on June 16-18.
The Penrite Oil Sandown 500 is scheduled for September 15-17 and the Repco Bathurst 1000 for October 5-8.