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Making sense of every silly season move

IT has been a Supercars silly season arguably like no other.

At least eight of the 11 teams will have some degree of change to their driver line-up from this year to next, and unusually, it appears to be mostly sorted before August is out.

But it’s not all a random game of scrambling the puzzle pieces; rather each individual move has its own merits, as V8 Sleuth breaks down below.

Brown to Triple Eight

Will Brown. Pic: Ross Gibb

Once it became clear that Shane van Gisbergen was going to chase his NASCAR dream sooner than later, and that Cam Waters was staying put at Tickford, the question on everyone’s lips was who would Triple Eight sign.

The answer proved a surprise, with Triple Eight able to get Will Brown out of his 2024 Erebus Motorsport deal.

MORE: How Brown/Triple Eight deal came together

The powers that be at Triple Eight have long rated Brown, and the combination of him and Broc Feeney gives the Chevrolet heavyweights two young front-running drivers who could be teammates for the next decade.

Oh, and Brown seems to be a good fit for both the Triple Eight culture and its sponsors’ needs.

As for Brown, Triple Eight can generally be viewed as an upgrade even if it trails Erebus in the 2023 Supercars standings.

Triple Eight has been the undoubted benchmark Supercars team of the past 15-plus years, and as an organisation it can open doors into semi-regularly racing a Mercedes-AMG GT3 including at circuits such as Suzuka (as part of its GT World Challenge Asia program).

Le Brocq to Erebus

Jack Le Brocq. Pic: Supplied/Christian Hartung

Jack Le Brocq has found a happy home at Matt Stone Racing, that combination becoming a regular inside the top 10 in the Gen3 era.

But for JLB, how can you say no to a chance to drive for the championship-leading team?

As for Erebus, it needs a reliable replacement for Brown, given it is right now at the top of its game.

Success has proven hard to sustain for more than a few years for any team outside of Triple Eight, so while Erebus is the Gen3 frontrunner it arguably can’t afford to take a punt.

And besides being in form, Le Brocq is a known quantity for Erebus given his relationship with CEO Barry Ryan dates back more than a decade (Ryan engineered Le Brocq’s 2012 Australian Formula Ford championship-winning campaign).

Reynolds to Team 18

David Reynolds. Pic: Supplied

For Reynolds, it’s straightforward: he apparently only had one year on the table from Grove Racing, and multiple years from Team 18.

At age 38, this might be his last full-time contract, so job security is pretty enticing.

And that’s not to mention his relationship with Team 18 manager Bruin Beasley and crew chief Dennis Huijser from their Erebus days (including winning the 2017 Bathurst 1000) and with teammate-in-waiting Mark Winterbottom from Tickford before that.

While Scott Pye has been a consistent performer, Reynolds could be considered a slight on-track upgrade with his resume boasting 16 pole positions and 40 podiums including seven race wins.

Team 18 is also known to be one of the best in the business in terms of servicing sponsors, and Reynolds remains one of the most popular and outgoing drivers in pitlane.

Stanaway to Grove

Richie Stanaway. Pic: Brett Phibbs / PhibbsVisuals

As has previously been spelt out, Grove Racing was not interested in going for another stopgap driver, despite there being options aplenty in the market for 2025.

The Groves want to win now, and there is genuine hope that the super talented Stanaway can do that immediately.

It’s a roll of the dice, given his chequered history, but one that could pay off handsomely.

As for Stanaway, he had been passed over by Triple Eight and Erebus, but Grove might be a perfect fit for him, given how heavily they are investing to get to the top of the sport.

Stanaway has already spoken of how he entered previous seasons with little hope of winning and how that mindset is already very different for 2024.

He’s also now been armed with an insight into what makes Triple Eight and Shane van Gisbergen as good as they are…

Others

The 2023 Supercars field. Pic: Supplied

For now, we’ll focus on the fully announced components, but to quickly touch on other impending changes:

The Blanchard Racing Team is thought likely to opt for a blend of experience and youth in the form of James Courtney and Aaron Love. Courtney brings championship-winning credentials and pulling power, while Love is BRT’s star of the future.

Those moves would come hand-in-hand with Tickford’s expected downsizing to two cars, with Waters and Thomas Randle staying, and Courtney and Declan Fraser leaving.

Walkinshaw Andretti United is parting ways with Nick Percat, the highly touted reunion having not quite worked out as hoped. Ryan Wood is tipped to take over in the #2 Mustang, giving WAU that mix of starpower (Chaz Mostert) and raw talent.

And finally, MSR may hold the last vacancy, with several drivers lining up for what has proven to be a race-winning seat in 2023.

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