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Mawson’s Supercars dream dashed

AUSTRALIAN open-wheel ace Joey Mawson’s ambitions of a Repco Supercars Championship debut have been put on the backburner for at least one more year.

With Tim Slade firmly in his corner, Mawson was long the favourite to co-drive the #23 Nulon Camaro at the 2023 Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000.

The one hurdle in his way was being granted an exemption, given Mawson qualifies for a Motorsport Australia Superlicence but does not meet Supercars’ additional criteria (namely six Super2 rounds for any driver without a Gold or Platinum FIA licence).

It’s been a rollercoaster ride from there, with Mawson almost conceding defeat at one stage before the narrative seemed to swing in his favour.

It’s understood that Supercars was satisfied the two-time Gold Star winner would be suitable to race, and that sign-off simply hinged on the FIA upgrading his licence from Silver to Gold.

But frustratingly for all parties, the situation never progressed from there, with answers hard to come by on an absolute guarantee of Mawson’s eligibility.

Joey Mawson has dominated in S5000. Pic: Supplied

With less than two months now until the Sandown 500, PremiAir decided it could wait no longer for a green light which might never come, instead signing 2016 Bathurst 1000 winner Jonathon Webb to pair up with Slade.

“Obviously it has been widely reported that we were looking to give Joey Mawson a drive with Tim to give some young and upcoming talent a go, and we hung out as long as we possibly could to try and make that happen,” PremiAir owner Peter Xiberras explained.

“Unfortunately, the bid for Mawson to be approved for a Super Licence for the events has not progressed, and so we had to make a decision and we decided to do all that we could to give Tim the best possible chance to recover some points after a difficult start to the season by partnering him with an experienced co-driver.”

Slade has often shown top 10 pace in his first season since joining PremiAir from the Blanchard Racing Team but is 15th in the championship having been plagued by mechanical dramas.

As for Mawson, he has previously expressed that he’ll try again for a spot on the 2024 Supercars grid.

The FIA reassesses the status of drivers’ licence at the end of each year – so if it then upgrades Mawson to Gold as expected, his path should be clear for next season’s enduros.

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