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HIGH-PROFILE OMISSION FOR SANDOWN CO-DRIVER PRACTICE

GROVE Racing will only field one of its Ford Mustang Supercars in the dedicated co-driver session at the upcoming Sandown SuperSprint.

Australian-born international Porsche star Matt Campbell will miss the half-hour additional driver practice, scheduled to start at 3:20pm on Friday, August 19.

Teams have until tomorrow (Wednesday, August 10) to nominate additional drivers for that session, per the event supplementary regulations.

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It appears no more than 24 drivers will take part in what is officially Practice 2 at Sandown, with Grove Racing team principal David Cauchi confirming to V8 Sleuth that they won’t call on a substitute for Campbell. There is scope, however, for fellow co-driver Matt Payne to drive both Penrite Fords.

Come Bathurst, Campbell and Payne will partner Lee Holdsworth and David Reynolds, respectively.

Matt Campbell at the 2021 Bathurst 1000. Pic: Grove Racing

It’s not uncommon for teams to field steerers other than their signed co-drivers in additional driver practice sessions.

Erebus Motorsport in 2019 gave laps to Broc Feeney and Jordan Boys at Winton Motor Raceway, instead of its enduro co-drivers Will Brown and Luke Youlden who had featured in a Symmons Plains additional driver practice the previous month.

Joel Heinrich also made an appearance for Matt Stone Racing that year at Winton, given Todd Hazelwood’s co-driver at the time Jack Smith was entered in the event as a solo wildcard.

Greg Murphy meanwhile got behind the wheel of the CoolDrive/Brad Jones Racing Holden at Symmons Plains, and drove both Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs at The Bend later that same season.

Among the various wildcards running at this year’s Bathurst 1000, none will appear at Sandown given cars must be entered in the specific event in order to take part in practice.

Greg Murphy (left) drove both Shell V-Power Racing Team cars at The Bend in 2019.

Triple Eight has confirmed neither Craig Lowndes nor Declan Fraser will hop into the sister Red Bull Commodores; likewise Richie Stanaway and Greg Murphy at Erebus Motorsport.

Matt Chahda and Jaylyn Robotham will be present, but only in line with their usual Super2 campaigns.

Returning to the topic of Grove Racing, Cauchi was relaxed about Campbell’s preparations, which will see the three-time Repco Bathurst 1000 starter instead get seat time at the team’s pre-Mount Panorama test.

“Matt is a world-class driver, I’ve got no concerns over Matt Campbell’s ability,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“Yeah, in a perfect world, if he was in Australia, he would be in the car, but it’s a long way to come for a 30-minute session especially in the current world with flights.

“So, that’s simply the reason why he won’t be in the car, is because he is in another country.

“But yeah, I’d still rather have Matt Campbell driving our car come Bathurst than anyone else.”

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