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HomeNewsDriver by driver: The Super2 class of 2023

Driver by driver: The Super2 class of 2023

A SERIOUSLY exciting Dunlop Series awaits fans in 2023 as a wave of new talent enters the Supercars pipeline.

Any early fears about the availability of Gen2 cars have proven wide of the mark, with a 20-strong Super2 field heading to Newcastle, vindicating an eligibility backflip that took place last August.

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What’s more is the Super3 element of the combined grid is predominantly made up of up-and-comers as opposed to gentlemen racers, who now have the V8 Touring Car Series as an attractive option.

Jett Johnson, Mason Kelly, Cameron McLeod, Matt McCutcheon, Jobe Stewart and Ryan Gilroy are the young brigade vying for Super3 class honours – but for the purpose of this exercise, V8 Sleuth will focus on who exactly are the 20 second-tier candidates.

With the title-winning team from last two years (Triple Eight) not returning, and the most successful squad in Super2 history (MW Motorsport) downsizing, there is plenty of intrigue about how things will play out.

#2 Ryan Wood, Walkinshaw Andretti United, ZB Commodore

Ryan Wood. Pic: Supplied

The talented Kiwi is something of a Shane van Gisbergen protégé and enters Super2 having enjoyed a season-long battle with Tom Sargent for the 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge title.

Described as oozing “naked flair”, Wood took part in a WAU driver evaluation in November and clearly did enough to impress.

Expect to see him quickly challenge at the front.

#3 Jaylyn Robotham, MW Motorsport, Mustang

Jaylyn Robotham at MWM. Pic: Supplied

After so many question marks about MWM’s involvement – and then a mid-February test for Matt McLean – it was Robotham who emerged in the sole car being fielded by the four-time champion team at Newcastle.

Robotham last year was a Super2 race winner and Bathurst 1000 debutant but seemed destined to miss the 2023 grid until this last-minute deal came together.

It’s only a one-off arrangement at this stage but even still, the combination of driver, team and car (an ex-Tickford Racing Mustang) here has all the ingredients to be hunting race wins.

#5 Brad Vaughan, Tickford Racing, Mustang

Brad Vaughan after clinching the Super3 title. Pic: Nathan Wong

Vaughan prevailed in a tense 2022 Super3 title scrap with Kai Allen and now gets his chance to establish himself in a major main game team.

The South Australian will be armed with the Mustang which James Courtney drove to two podium placings last year.

#6 Elly Morrow, Tickford Racing, Mustang

Elly Morrow. Pic: Joel Strickland

The last 18 months have been a learning curve for Morrow but she is the first to admit the time for top 10 results is now.

Having broadened her horizons with a run in the S5000 Tasman Series last year, Morrow’s big break comes with the team she grew up supporting.

#11 Zane Morse, AIM Motorsport, Mustang

Zane Morse. Pic: Joel Strickland

After toiling through a three-year Super2 apprenticeship in an ageing VF Commodore, Morse has got his hands on a relatively new ex-Cam Waters Mustang.

As he has said himself, he now has the chance to prove it was machinery that was holding him back.

#17 Zak Best, Anderson Motorsport, Mustang

Zak Best with the #17 Mustang which was still in a retro Dick Johnson Racing livery during pre-season testing. Pic: Supplied

The overwhelming title favourite.

Best was perhaps unlucky to miss out on a main game seat at Tickford; so he instantly set about going one better than his pair of Super2 runner-up finishes to put a 2024 graduation beyond doubt.

In a sneakily good team with an ex-Dick Johnson Racing Mustang and Brendan Hogan as his engineer, Best is the driver to beat.

#18 Matt Chahda, Matt Chahda Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Matt Chahda. Pic: Nathan Wong

It’s season number nine in the second tier for the ever-improving Albury privateer.

He came oh so close to a maiden race win in December at Adelaide (where he crossed the finish line first carrying a time penalty) but still collected three top-three results in 2022.

Although he won’t get to drive the DJR Mustang he’d initially hoped to, Chahda has become a more-than-solid benchmark for new Super2 talent.

#25 Zach Bates, Walkinshaw Andretti United, ZB Commodore

Zach Bates. Pic: Supplied

A teenager hailing from a famous rallying family, how Bates stacks up against Wood let alone the rest of the field will be fascinating.

His car racing experience includes finishing runner-up in Toyota 86 last year and taking a round podium on debut in the National Trans Am Series.

#26 Kai Allen, Eggleston Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Kai Allen. Pic: Supplied

Arguably there is no more in-demand rising Supercars talent than Allen.

Although an Adelaide accident cost him the Super3 title, his ability to mix it in the Super2 midfield last year was nothing short of impressive.

Now what can he do as a Super2 driver?

#30 Aaron Seton, Gomersall Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Aaron Seton. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

Perhaps a make-or-break season for the third-generation driver as he moves out of the Matt Stone Racing camp and into the Gomersall Motorsport breakaway operation.

Seton has shown glimpses of terrific pace in the past two years but has battled to put a full race weekend together.

If he can do that now, with most of the 2022 frontrunners out of the way, he can really start to make a name for himself.

#33 Callum Walker, Walker Racing, ZB Commodore

Callum Walker in action at Queensland Raceway. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

In a sense, Walker might just be the most interesting case study of the entire season.

Well known in Australian motorsport circles for his junior karting career and subsequent speedway feats, Walker is directly switching from dirt racing to Supercars (with just one test day prior to Newcastle).

How quickly can he get up to speed?

The same question applies to his privateer crew.

#38 Cameron Crick, Eggleston Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Cameron Crick with his 2023-liveried ZB Commodore. Pic: Supplied

It was a solid if unspectacular first year for Crick at Egglestons after shifting from V8 SuperUtes, winding up 12th in the points.

He has now got three regular Super2 teammates to match up against.

#43 Lochie Dalton, Brad Jones Racing, ZB Commodore

Lochie Dalton’s #43 ZB Commodore. Pic: Supplied

The Tasmanian has already started his 2023 in style, leaving Symmons Plains second in the National Trans Am standings.

Dalton ran quite competitively on his Super2 debut at the Adelaide finale in December – using that foundation, he should be a regular in the top 10.

#49 Jay Hanson, Image Racing, ZB Commodore

Jay Hanson. Pic: Supplied

After juggling Super2 with TCR last year, it’s full focus on the Supercars side of things in 2023 for Hanson.

Having the experience of Jack Perkins as effectively his stablemate should be a supreme opportunity to make gains.

#54 Jordyn Sinni, Eggleston Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Jordyn Sinni. Pic: Supplied

Sinni makes the step up having begun his circuit racing career at age 14.

There’ll be lessons along the way but the fact he is a multiple Formula Ford round winner proves there is plenty to work with.

#67 Nash Morris, Nemo Racing, ZB Commodore

Nash Morris. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

Morris has said it himself: 2022 could barely have gone worse.

But with more and more experience under his belt and a bolstered team around him, 2023 should look far brighter – especially if he can keep his nose clean.

#70 Jack Perkins, Erebus Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Jack Perkins during pre-season testing at Winton. Pic: Supplied

The Supercars Championship race winner and Bathurst 1000 podium finisher takes on a valuable Paul Dumbrell-type role in the 2023 Super2 Series.

Perkins might not have the out-and-out speed of some of his competitors but he should have the racing smarts to bring home strong results.

#78 Aaron Love, Blanchard Racing Team, Mustang

Aaron Love with his Super2 Mustang. Pic: Supplied

Definitely one to watch.

The extent to which Love dominated Porsche Carrera Cup Australia last year was something rarely seen before in the one-make series – so much so that he missed a quarter of the season and still nearly won the title.

He has pace to burn… and a stunning livery in which to do it.

#88 Cooper Murray, Eggleston Motorsport, ZB Commodore

Cooper Murray. Pic: Supplied

Murray is another Carrera Cup convert, having finished runner-up to Cameron Hill in 2021 and tested the waters abroad.

The intra-team battle between he and Allen could be entertaining in itself.

#219 James Masterton, Masterton Motorsports, Mustang

FPR 1215 at Townsville in 2021. Pic: CoolDrive Auto Parts

A learning year awaits the jet ski champion and son of former ATCC privateer Steve.

The shift of machinery accelerated Masterton’s ascension into Super2, but he’s realistic that for now it’s all about staying out of trouble.

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