THE Bathurst 1000 will once again be the only endurance race on the Supercars calendar in 2021, meaning there will be no Pirtek Enduro Cup for the second year in a row and just one race outing for co-drivers this year.
That fact, combined with the major changes in many Supercars teams’ main driver line-ups for 2021, has placed an even greater premium on securing an experienced co-driver.
Four of the most high-profile steerers among last year’s co-driver crop have secured main game seats this year: Will Davison at Dick Johnson Racing, Tim Slade at the newly-formed Blanchard Racing Team, and Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki at Erebus Motorsport.
ENTRY LIST: 2021 Repco Supercars Championship
Conversely, a handful of last year’s main game drivers are expected to race as co-drivers come October.
Reigning Supercars Champion-turned-IndyCar Series rookie Scott McLaughlin is currently scheduled to share one of Dick Johnson Racing’s Fords.
However, the Kiwi’s role may depend on the evolution of COVID-19 restrictions over the course of the year: the current mandatory quarantine period for international visitors to Australia stands at 14 days, and there are just 10 between the final round of the IndyCar season (the rescheduled Grand Prix of Long Beach) on September 26 and opening practice at Bathurst on October 7.
Lee Holdsworth, who topped Thursday’s practice session at Bathurst last year as the lead driver in Tickford Racing’s #5 car, has been tipped to be a co-driver at Walkinshaw Andretti United.
Two time Bathurst 1000 winner Rick Kelly retired from full-time Supercars racing at the end of 2020 but it is not known if he will return in a co-driver role this year.
Several teams have either already announced their co-driver line-ups for 2021 or have drivers under existing contracts.
Triple Eight Race Engineering will have Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander on its roster once again this year, with the 2020 Bathurst-winning combination of Tander and Shane van Gisbergen expected to remain in place while Lowndes continues with Jamie Whincup.
Team 18 has confirmed that it has secured the services of Michael Caruso and retained James Golding for 2021.
Tickford recently announced that it has Thomas Randle under a multi-year contract that will see him drive for the team at this year’s Bathurst 1000, while it also has James Moffat under contract.
However, amid the exits of both Holdsworth and Caruso, the Ford team will need to find a new co-driver for James Courtney – Broc Feeney has joined Triple Eight for the team’s expanded two-car attack on this year’s Super2 Series.
CONFIRMED CO-DRIVERS: 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 (as of 13/1/2021)
|Dick Johnson Racing||Scott McLaughlin*||Ford Mustang GT|
|Triple Eight Race Engineering||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Triple Eight Race Engineering||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Tickford Racing||James Moffat||Ford Mustang GT|
|Tickford Racing||Thomas Randle||Ford Mustang GT|
|Team 18||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team 18||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB|