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Hazelwood opens up on BRT move

FOR Todd Hazelwood, the unexpected opportunity to switch to the Blanchard Racing Team required little deliberation.

Hazelwood has been the biggest surprise of the Repco Supercars Championship silly season, agreeing with Matt Stone Racing to cut ties at the end of this year. He’d previously been considered a lock to drive an MSR Camaro in 2023.

All eyes were initially on Lee Holdsworth to replace the departing Tim Slade at BRT, only for the 2021 Bathurst 1000 winner to throw a spanner in the works when he announced his retirement.

Enter Hazelwood.

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“It was a pretty clear decision on the basis of how they’ve been performing, the professionalism of the team and their direction for the future as well,” the 27-year-old told V8 Sleuth of BRT.

“They have big plans for Gen3 coming in and they’re very well positioned… I’m excited to be part of the journey of what’s next for BRT.

“I feel like they have got all of the ingredients to have some good success in the future with.”

Hazelwood has bounced between MSR and Brad Jones Racing in his five full main game campaigns for a best end-of-season championship ranking of 13th, achieved last year.

Slade was 12th in BRT’s rookie 2021 season and currently holds 11th.

Hazelwood, who raced in CoolDrive colours when he co-drove with Tim Blanchard during the 2017 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, is not daunted about leading a one-car effort.

It was with MSR that Hazelwood won the 2017 Super2 Series. Pic: Nathan Wong

“I’m probably in a unique position where I’m one of only a few drivers in the sport that has ever been part of a single-car outfit before,” he said.

“While there might be some disadvantages compared to being a two-car team, I actually think there are a lot of positives being part of a single-car program.

“You’ve got a whole team and whole program fully dedicated on the one car, you’ve got the best personnel all at aimed at success, so I’m really looking forward to it actually.

“I have got a lot of faith in the people that they have got in place at that team and no doubt they are going to give me a great car at the start of next year.”

BRT will be one of five Ford teams next year, all of which will enjoy a level of factory support.

“The Ford Mustang for Gen3 next year looks super tough and I’m a bit of a Ford man myself so it’s pretty cool,” said the 2017 Super2 title winner.

“Obviously Ford stepping up their capabilities for all of the Ford teams into the future is a really exciting prospect.

“I’m interested to see as I get more involved with BRT towards the end of the year, understanding Ford’s involvement and what that includes.

“It’s really exciting and I can’t wait to represent the brand.”

Before then, Hazelwood has two more rounds to try to finish his second MSR stint on a high.

“There’s still a level of unfinished business between Matt (Stone) and I and we’re both still motivated as hell to try to finish the year off strongly and do the best job,” he said.

“I really do enjoy working with the guys at MSR, we’ve got a great group of people there that I hope I can reward before we see the year out.”

Who replaces Hazelwood in MSR’s #35 Camaro remains the biggest question of the ongoing silly season, with Jayden Ojeda and Declan Fraser the favourites.

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