PERENNIAL Super2 frontrunner Zak Best might be bound for a Repco Supercars Championship berth after all.
Speculation is rife that Brad Jones Racing may hand Best a full-time opportunity next season, amid continued uncertainty as to whether Jack Smith will opt to drive on in 2024.
It’s been a prolonged and at times frustrating journey for Best in his bid to secure a graduation from Super2.
He was runner-up for Tickford Racing in the second-tier category in both 2021 (to Broc Feeney) and 2022 (to Declan Fraser) but was overlooked for a promotion even when an unexpected vacancy came up at his own team last summer.
Instead, Tickford turned to Fraser to replace Jake Kostecki, and Best was left with a co-drive but no Super2 ride nor wildcard program at the Ford squad.
Briefly the youngest polesitter in Supercars Championship history, Best struck a deal with Anderson Motorsport to have another Super2 title tilt, now in an ex-Dick Johnson Racing Mustang.
He holds the series lead entering this month’s Adelaide decider.
For a time, it appeared the 22-year-old from Benalla would be resigned to another year on the full-time sidelines as the 2024 driver market moved into overdrive and the bulk of the grid was sorted by mid-September.
Tickford and BJR are the only Supercars teams still yet to formally announce their 2024 primary driver rosters.
It’s an open secret that Tickford will retain Cam Waters and Thomas Randle for its downsized two-car effort, while BJR has spearhead Andre Heimgartner under contract.
BJR maintained an unchanged line-up from 2022 to ’23, and little had been expected to change besides SCT and the Smith family conducting its usual annual review of the Teams Racing Charter it owns and houses within BJR.
During the Gold Coast 500, the SCT camp downplayed murmurs that change was afoot, and there’s no suggestion that a deal has officially been done whereby Best will take over from Smith.
But it has often proven the case in the Supercars silly season stakes that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.