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Is this the most improved driver in Supercars?

NO, the answer argued here is not Jack Le Brocq, as fair a suggestion as that might be.

For Le Brocq has shown glimpses of front-running talent before, is coming off a year in which he outpaced then teammate Todd Hazelwood, and now has a rookie on the other side of the garage.

None of that is to discredit Le Brocq’s superb run in 2023, but there is more tangible evidence in favour of Bryce Fullwood being Supercars’ biggest improver.

It’s not the first time things have suddenly clicked for Fullwood.

Having debuted in Super2 at age 16, Fullwood chugged along for four years before utterly dominating the 2019 season out of nowhere.

He used that title to springboard into a golden opportunity in the main game, at Walkinshaw Andretti United.

What followed was two relatively tough full-time campaigns where he scored less than 60 percent of the points accrued by star teammate Chaz Mostert.

Bryce Fullwood has recorded eight top 10 finishes in the past 11 races. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

Shown the door by WAU, Fullwood took refuge at Brad Jones Racing but year one there also failed to materialise into much.

In fact, a grim snapshot of his 2022: four top 10 finishes (a ninth and three 10ths) from 34 races, and a head-to-head qualifying record won 28-6 by stablemate Andre Heimgartner.

Parity has no doubt been a factor this season, but the way in which the Heimgartner/Fullwood comparison has tightened up speaks volumes for the latter.

Heimgartner is seventh in the 2023 championship; Fullwood is ninth, despite unsafe pit release penalties twice costing him dearly at Albert Park.

Head-to-head qualifying thus far reads 13-9 to the Kiwi.

And qualifying averages are now 11.05 versus 12.77 (Heimgartner ahead), compared to 10.44 versus 17.74 in 2022.

Fullwood at The Bend. Pic: Supplied/Pace Images

All in all, Heimgartner is still the top dog at BJR, but not nearly by as much as before.

Fullwood’s development, under the watchful eye of respected engineer Phil Keed, has given BJR a genuine two-pronged attack for the first time in years.

The result is the Albury squad is on pace to match its best ever teams’ championship result (third in 2013), sitting 169 points clear of fourth-placed Tickford Racing with four rounds remaining.

While Heimgartner is under contract for 2024, a Fullwood extension is yet to be announced by BJR – but he is by all accounts expected to continue in the #14 Camaro next year.

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