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Goddard gunning for Bathurst redemption

REDEMPTION is the theme for Triple Eight Race Engineering’s 2023 Supercars wildcard, with Zane Goddard hungry to make amends for a Bathurst blunder.

Co-driving with Tickford Racing’s James Courtney, Goddard was on the receiving end of mass scrutiny and a sizeable fine owing to a disastrous early crash last October.

He kept a low profile in the months that followed and has now landed a prime chance to bounce back, sharing a Supercheap Auto Chevrolet Camaro with Bathurst legend Craig Lowndes.

“I had a little bit of time away from the sport after it for a couple of months and it sort of reminded that I really do enjoy it,” Goddard, 23, told V8 Sleuth.

“I’m really eager to get back in the car and working with a great team and just really enjoy it – obviously push 100 percent to get the best result possible but I think my approach is I want to enjoy it as well.

MORE: Courtney called Goddard every day after crash fallout

“Not everyone gets the opportunity to race at the 1000 so I just want to soak in the experience. I think it’s one of those things, the more you enjoy it, the better you really go at anything.

“Obviously last year wasn’t ideal… I feel like I will come back stronger from it.

“It’s one of those things, it was a tough life lesson but things happen and it’s about how you deal with them and move on from there.

“I feel like I’ll be a new and improved version of myself.”

On top of Lowndes and seven-time champion Jamie Whincup, Goddard will have record-breaking star Shane van Gisbergen in his corner.

“To learn off him, I’m just going to try to soak in as much as I can, see where he gets his speed from and obviously he has got some great car control and all of that,” Goddard said of SVG.

“I’m probably expecting to see some pretty cool stuff in the telemetry and in the footage from what he does.”

Goddard will go above and beyond to take in the one-percenters which have made Triple Eight a powerhouse, following the blueprint of wildcard predecessor Declan Fraser to become a fixture in the team’s garage.

“That’s definitely the plan,” said the Gold Coaster, who is one of few drivers to have sampled both the Camaro and Mustang Gen3 prototypes.

Zane Goddard and Craig Lowndes with Supercheap Auto managing director Benjamin Ward. Pic: Supplied

“I have been full-time before so I know how the race meetings run but just to go there and see the way T8 approach those weekends and the structures that they have in place and just getting used to that so that when I jump in, you get rid of that learning curve and can really focus on trying to achieve the best result possible.

“I will be at pretty much all the rounds, loitering around in the background just soaking it in, so you will definitely see my face at the races.”

Goddard’s opportunity, which will presumably see him be the entry’s primary driver, actually was first spoken about with a view to 2022.

“It was sort of in some ways a bit of a slow burn,” he revealed of how the deal came about.

“Like after my full-time year, I spoke a little bit with Supercheap and it didn’t come off for last year and then the co-drive came up with JC (Tickford’s James Courtney) and that was the way I went.

“Then this year I got a call from Triple Eight in late December and they said the proposed plan and straightaway I was like ‘that sounds pretty damn good’. It sort of moved quickly from there and all got put in place and here we are now.”

The British Formula 4 race winner is hoping to pick up additional racing opportunities this year to keep his eye in, on top of wildcard testing.

Last year, his racing portfolio outside of the Bathurst 1000 was limited to two S5000 rounds.

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