Clock ticking on MSR driver decision

Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood. Pic: Matt Stone Racing

THE carrot of potentially having the last available seat for the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship is not enticing Matt Stone Racing to draw out the process of finding a new teammate for Jack Le Brocq.

It emerged earlier this month that Todd Hazelwood is set to head to the Blanchard Racing Team next year as a surprise replacement for Tim Slade.

Official confirmation is yet to come, although both the BRT and MSR camps have acknowledged that part of the equation should be publicised soon enough.

That leaves MSR with a previously unexpected vacancy which many drivers are understood to be gunning for.

The interest in the seat has arguably been heightened by a dearth of other main game options.

Triple Eight Race Engineering, Dick Johnson Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Erebus Motorsport, Team 18 and now Grove Racing are all locked and loaded.

The only possible movement anticipated at Tickford Racing would be internal – i.e. the promotion of its Super2 ace Zak Best – and Brad Jones has indicated a desire to press on with his current quartet.

Slade is expected to land at PremiAir Racing, where James Golding has compiled a strong case to be retained.

MSR owner Matt Stone has flagged interest in blooding a rookie in Car #35.

But despite the potential to play off candidates against one another, Stone is eager to finalise plans sooner than later.

“We’re just working through it at the moment,” he told V8 Sleuth.

Matt Stone Racing’s first Gen3 chassis

“There’s obviously a bit of a market of drivers out there that we’re weighing up and looking at and trying to decide who is the right fit for the team.

“We’ll try to get it sorted (soon) because basically from where we stand, we have got a lot on after Bathurst with Gen3. We’re just trying to get all this stuff put to bed so that we can focus on what we need to focus on after Bathurst.”

Super2 Series leader Declan Fraser and MSR co-driver Jayden Ojeda are among names to have been linked to the seat.

MSR was in action yesterday at Queensland Raceway, completing final preparations for next week’s Repco Bathurst 1000.

The team has also confirmed it received its first Gen3 chassis from PACE Innovations on Monday. MSR will run Chevrolet Camaros next season.

Connor O’Brien joined V8 Sleuth in 2022 as website Editor. He won the Supercars Media Award in 2017 while working as a sports reporter at the Gold Coast Bulletin, before stints at Supercars and Speedcafe. During his time at V8 Sleuth he's twice (2022, 2023) been named Journalist of the Year at the Supercars Media Awards.