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A Christmas wish for each Supercars squad

MERRY Christmas, Sleuthers.

In the spirit of Christmas, V8 Sleuth has come up with a wish for each of the 11 Repco Supercars Championship teams to make their 2024 all the more fruitful.

Blanchard Racing Team: Courtney to sprinkle some magic

James Courtney (right). Pic: Supplied

There’s no two ways about it: it was a torrid 2023 for BRT, at least on-track, as it set the wheels in motion for a bigger and better ’24.

That’s fast approaching and James Courtney is bound to be a pivotal cog, bringing vast experience from four different championship-winning squads (Stone Brothers Racing, Dick Johnson Racing, Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw, and Tickford Racing).

Courtney will also be out to extend his impressive streak of recording at least one podium in every season from 2006 onwards. Doing so would be particularly meaningful given BRT is yet to open its main game podium account.

Brad Jones Racing: A long-awaited victory

Brad Jones hugs Andre Heimgartner. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

For a squad that finished third in the 2023 teams’ championship, it’s perhaps a surprise that BJR is the holder of the longest win drought up and down pitlane.

Seven different teams tasted victory last year, and Walkinshaw Andretti United did so at the 2022 season finale. The other two outfits (BRT and PremiAir Racing) weren’t even in existence when BJR last won, via Nick Percat at Sydney Motorsport Park in July 2020.

But surely it’s merely a matter of time. After all, Andre Heimgartner has 10 podiums in his two seasons at Albury, and that partnership is only getting stronger. Plus, Bryce Fullwood has finally found his feet and Jaxon Evans is now in town

Dick Johnson Racing: An engineering direction

Anton De Pasquale at the 2023 Adelaide 500. Pic: Supplied

Even to the untrained eye, it was clear to see that the rake which proved so successful with DJR’s Gen2 Mustang was not so effective on its successor.

After a shocking start to the Gen3 era, DJR made steady gains as the year wore on, only to go missing after the aero upgrades were applied that propelled the Grove and Tickford Fords to the pointy end.

It’s time for a rethink, and DJR has reshuffled its deck accordingly, bringing Ryan Story back as team principal. And with Ludo Lacroix moving on, it’s imperative that Anton De Pasquale clicks with Perry Kapper to reignite the 28-year-old’s blistering one-lap pace.

MORE: Why Story is exactly what DJR needs

Erebus Motorsport: A happy JLB reunion

Jack Le Brocq. Pic: Supplied/Mark Horsburgh

When Will Brown signed with archrivals Triple Eight for 2024, Erebus wasted little time in turning to an old friend: the in-form Jack Le Brocq.

Of course, a lot has changed since JLB last drove for Erebus, which arguably enters 2024 as championship favourites with Brodie Kostecki.

For Le Brocq, the opportunity of his career is right in front of him – and at the very least, it’s critical that he sticks with and pushes Kostecki amid the likelihood of heightened competition.    

Grove Racing: The best of Richie Stanaway

Richie Stanaway (right) with Shane van Gisbergen after winning Bathurst. Pic: Supplied

This is probably the story of 2024. Can a hugely talented driver and a blossoming powerhouse combine for a match made in heaven?

Grove rolled the dice for the high ceiling that Stanaway offers, rather than going for a safe option to replace David Reynolds, and he has since added a Bathurst 1000 win.

The good news for Stanaway is he’ll have every opportunity to succeed, including a brand-new chassis and the guidance of guru engineer Alistair McVean.

Matt Stone Racing: A rounded campaign

The MSR Camaro of Cameron Hill. Pic: Supplied

‘The pre-WAU Nick Percat’ would have been an acceptable answer here too, with the hopes that its 2024 recruit can return to being the star driver that led BJR in punching above its weight for a half-decade.

But MSR has to give him and Cameron Hill the chance to flourish, and not just for part of the season.

In 2022 and to a larger extent 2023, MSR started impressively. But in both instances, its form dropped off in the back half of the year.

Maintaining a high level throughout the 12 rounds is the next step.

PremiAir Racing: Engineering stability

Romy Mayer, Geoff Slater and Simon Hodge. Pic: Supplied

Part of the double-edged sword that comes with chasing instant success for a new team is a sense of impatience – or perhaps ruthlessness.

There’s been plenty of changes behind the scenes during PremiAir’s first two seasons, but it felt like Peter Xiberras’ team ended 2023 in an okay place.

With team manager Stephen Robertson overseeing things, it’s now important that PremiAir gives its two drivers consistency on the engineering front across the season, both James Golding and especially Tim Slade having hung in through plenty of chopping and changing.

There’s likely to be at least one off-season change, with Simon Hodge’s loan from Triple Eight ending.

Team 18: The perks of happy Dave

David Reynolds. Pic: Ross Gibb

It was a year of high highs and low lows for Team 18, which is now undergoing its latest transformation.

Adrian Burgess comes in at the top with a wealth of knowledge – and the last time he worked with Charlie Schwerkolt, DJR won the 2010 championship.

Also prominent will be David Reynolds, who has shown himself still extremely capable of contending for wins. He’s also expected to be a big in for team culture and commercially.

It’s no secret that when ‘happy Dave’ is around, good things follow.

Tickford Racing: Waters extension

Cam Waters and Thomas Randle. Pic: Supplied/Race Project

It will be a new-look Campbellfield squad in 2024 with a change of boss and a reduction to two cars.

Along with Tim Edwards shifting to Supercars, that downsizing has seen the likes of James Courtney, Declan Fraser, Kate Harrington, Raymond Lau and many more talented people move on.

One person who Tickford cannot afford to lose is Cam Waters, who is understood to be off-contract at the end of next year.

It’s something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; if Tickford can deliver Waters the chance to challenge for the championship as he is so capable of, the marriage is more likely to live on.

Triple Eight Race Engineering: Feeney to stay on Whincup trajectory

Jamie Whincup and Broc Feeney. Pic: Supplied

Broc Feeney has drawn comparisons to his #88 predecessor Jamie Whincup, and the starts to their Triple Eight careers do rather correlate.

Year one, Whincup was 10th in the championship and Feeney sixth.

Year two, both were genuine title contenders but fell just short.

Year three… Whincup won the first of his seven crowns. If 21-year-old Feeney can follow suit, it could well be the start of another dynasty.

Walkinshaw Andretti United: A smooth landing for next big thing

Ryan Wood. Pic: Supplied

Chaz Mostert remains WAU’s lead hope of the big-ticket prizes but the team now also has one of the sport’s brightest talents alongside him.

Few would doubt that Ryan Wood has the speed and aggression to be a genuine ace.

Supercars can be tough on rookies though, so while there’s bound to be a couple of hiccups, hopefully Wood has the opportunity to thrive and put in some eye-catching performances.

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