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Rookie raring for shot at hometown success

AFTER a horror solo Supercars debut, Aaron Love has quietly been chipping away.

While 12th in the Sunday race at Albert Park and 15th on the Saturday at Taupō mightn’t scream out as headline results, they’ve been proof of progress for the Blanchard Racing Team rookie.

BRT boss Tim Blanchard has been frank in assessing the squad’s car performance/pace – or lack thereof – but its #3 CoolDrive pilot is starting to find his feet regardless.

 “Bathurst was a pretty rough round from my point of view,” Love told V8 Sleuth.

“Obviously it’s far from how you really want to finish your first round, so that was kind of like a hit on the head to be honest.

“I think I definitely learnt a lot at Grand Prix, coming out of Bathurst where I probably hurt myself there.

“With those two crashes, then all of a sudden you lose the chance to go and learn all the racing door-to-door in Supercars.

“So after missing out on that, it was then important to maximise at Grand Prix, which was good. And then Taupō, realistically our car pace just wasn’t there, both me and JC (teammate James Courtney) struggled a lot.”

Next up is Wanneroo Raceway in Western Australia.

Love is one of two Perth products on the grid, the other being 2023 champion Brodie Kostecki (Andre Heimgartner was born in New Zealand but now lives in WA).

Aaron Love (left) with Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner in Perth. Pic: Supplied

Wanneroo is where Love plied his trade in switching from karts to cars, but he knows he still gives away plenty of experience to his competitors this weekend.

Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom, for instance, has 46 Supercars races under his belt at the circuit dating back to 2004, for a return of seven wins.

“It’s kind of weird: I’m from Perth but this is probably only the second year that I’ve done a major race there in anything big and heavy and fast,” said 22-year-old Love.

“So it’s a bit different because you feel like it’s home when you go there but I have still got so much to learn and there’s probably a lot of drivers out there that know that track a lot better than me.”

He did have some success last year in the west, taking Super2 finishes of sixth and second there.

BRT’s best result of the Gen3 era came at the 2023 Perth SuperSprint, as Todd Hazelwood took fourth in Race 1.

The Box Hill squad has, however, undergone significant turnover since then in rebuilding and expanding to a two-car operation.

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