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BRT’s ‘wait and see’ approach to Supercars driver market

TIM Blanchard is keeping a close eye on the Supercars driver market as his squad shapes to factor in the silly season.

Todd Hazelwood is off-contract, meaning the Blanchard Racing Team has at least one seat to fill for 2024 – maybe two, if a Teams Racing Charter reshuffle eventuates allowing for expansion at Box Hill.

Blanchard described BRT’s season to date as “subpar” and “fairly inconsistent” due to factors both internal and external.

Hazelwood almost snuck onto the podium at Wanneroo Raceway but has since slipped to 20th in the championship.

Right now, there are more questions than answers in the broader driver jigsaw puzzle, none more eye-catching than who will replace Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight.

“There is a bit of wait and see. It depends what our structure is like,” Blanchard told V8 Sleuth of BRT’s approach.

“We’ve obviously got Todd in the seat at the moment, we’ve got Aaron (Love) in Super2, and we’ll wait and see what options come up.

Todd Hazelwood and Tim Blanchard will co-drive together at Sandown and Bathurst. Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz

“There’s a fair bit of movement around so I think when some of the teams at the other end of pitlane start settling, that will cause a pretty big ripple effect which may make some pretty easy decisions for us.”

Love has been at the centre of BRT’s 2023 expansion efforts, including for a full Super2 program and a main game wildcard in the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 which he’ll share with Jake Kostecki.

Asked if Love is considered ready for a promotion in ’24, Blanchard replied: “I think the second half of the year will answer a lot of those questions.

“He has been pretty good… there’s still a few areas he needs to improve on and take steps on, which he has worked really hard at, so we’re pleased with his progress so far.

“But he will be the first to admit that he’s still got a bit more development to do.”

As for whether the team is ready to run two full-time championship entries?

“I think some of the pains we have experienced this year are part of our expansion plans,” Blanchard said.

Todd Hazelwood aboard the #3 CoolDrive Mustang. Pic: Supplied

“It’s always going to be the case, expanding a team especially in the current environment, it’s quite difficult.

“Bringing on the Super2 program was the right step for us, it’s a good stepping stone to whatever the future holds.

“It was the right time; it has probably made our first year in the Gen3 program a little bit more difficult than it needed to be but it was a big picture thing.

“It’s out of our control (as to whether a second TRC becomes available to them in 2024).

“We’re keen and we’re building the resources internally and if it’s not next year, we’ll run a Super2 car again or something like that to keep building and expanding.”

Whichever way it goes, Blanchard hopes a verdict on the TRC front becomes clear soon.

“There’s obviously a lot of driver movement at the moment and then there’s also the commercial side of it,” he added.

“We’ll keep a CoolDrive car but if we have the second car, we’d be looking at separate funding.

“It’s not easy to find sponsorship in the current environment so the sooner the better, but we’ll see what happens.”

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