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Sunday, May 26, 2024


A UNION between Lee Holdsworth and the Blanchard Racing Team is gathering traction for the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship.

V8 Sleuth broke the news last week that Tim Slade is set to depart the single-car squad at season’s end, with PremiAir Racing considered his likely destination.

The revelation has stoked the silly season fire, which had appeared to be becoming increasingly straightforward with most leading teams carrying unchanged line-ups into the Gen3 era.

The big question now is, who will take the #3 CoolDrive seat that Slade is tipped to vacate?

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Prior to a drastic dip in form at Winton, Darwin and Tailem Bend – qualifying outside the top 20 on multiple occasions at each of those rounds – BRT had pieced together an impressive start to life as a standalone squad.

Slade finished last year 12th in the championship, despite having left Round 1 with zero points on the board.

This year running a Tickford Racing chassis, but powered by Herrod Performance Engines, he’s 10th overall after eight rounds.

BRT therefore has a proven, desirable drive to tempt any prospective options, and Holdsworth’s name has quickly started popping up around the traps – including on the Castrol Motorsport News podcast released on Tuesday.

Holdsworth is thought likely to soon be shuffled out of a full-time opportunity at Grove Racing, given the team’s clear eagerness to promote protégé Matt Payne.

While the Braeside outfit has not yet made a final decision, Payne has helped his cause with a strong run in Super2 this year, while #26 driver David Reynolds has accounted for six of the Ford team’s seven top-tier podiums in 2022.

V8 Sleuth understands Grove Racing has an option in its favour on Reynolds for 2023.

Payne has a 2023 contract with the team, although it’s unclear whether that specifies a timeline on his elevation.

David Reynolds and Lee Holdsworth with the #10 Penrite Mustang. Pic: Supplied

In the midst of his 16th full-time campaign, Holdsworth won the Bathurst 1000 last year and has prior experience in a one-car operation from his four seasons at Team 18. He will celebrate his 500th Supercars Championship race start next weekend at the Sandown SuperSprint.

Should BRT prefer fresher blood, Zane Goddard is another prime contender.

The 22-year-old has a season-and-a-half under his belt in the main game and has accumulated decent mileage in Gen3 machinery having been regularly called on for prototype testing or demonstration laps.

Other names in the market include Triple Super2 talents Declan Fraser and Cameron Hill, though the task of a rookie spearheading a one-car team could be viewed as a risk.

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