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HomeNewsSeven Supercars storylines still to play out

Seven Supercars storylines still to play out

THE Repco Bathurst 1000 has been run and done, the championship is all but decided, and the silly season has just about played out.

But that’s not to say there’s nothing left for fans to look forward to as a brutal Gold Coast/Adelaide double awaits to see off the Gen2 Supercars.

V8 Sleuth below identifies seven storylines worth keeping an eye on.

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1) Does Supercars return to NZ?

We’re still awaiting confirmation of how the first season of Gen3 will look as far as the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship calendar goes.

The key sticking point seems to be New Zealand and whether a suitable successor to Pukekohe can be agreed upon.

The last ever Pukekohe Supercars event turned out to be a cracker, but if a new solution cannot be found, a reprieve is on the cards for Tailem Bend or Winton.

It’s widely expected there will be just the 12 rounds next year.

Shane van Gisbergen and Andre Heimgartner spray champagne after Race 29. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

2) Who gets the nod at MSR?

It appears that Matt Stone Racing has the last Gen3 seat up for grabs as it hunts a replacement for Blanchard Racing Team-bound Todd Hazelwood.

The team has committed to blooding a rookie, with Declan Fraser and Jayden Ojeda the leading candidates.

Fraser is closing in on the Super2 Series title, while Ojeda is familiar within the MSR ranks from a couple of starts co-driving in the Bathurst 1000 and impressed earlier in the year during a pair of solo wildcards for Walkinshaw Andretti United.

3) Is there still movement to play out at Tickford?

The looming unknown in the driver market is whether there will yet be some form of change at Tickford Racing.

The Ford squad appears to have contracts in place with its existing quartet plus Super2/wildcard/co-driver Zak Best, who continues to build a strong case for a promotion.

Cam Waters will again lead Tickford in 2023 but might one of James Courtney, Thomas Randle and Jake Kostecki be vulnerable?

The team has generally stopped short of definitively confirming its main game line-up for 2023 and has history in this ballpark, as Lee Holdsworth discovered when he was bumped out in January 2021.

4) What now for Stanaway?

Richie Stanaway gets a pre-race hug from Greg Murphy. Pic: Nathan Wong

Richie Stanaway was one of the standout stories from Bathurst, particularly as he aced a wet qualifying session to secure fourth on the grid.

It was a firm reminder of what he’s capable of in the right environment.

Does Peter Adderton’s bid for a Teams Racing Charter have the legs to deliver Stanaway a return to the full-time grid?

Otherwise, might someone like Triple Eight Race Engineering be tempted to swoop on him for what could be a two-round endurance season next year?

5) What of the other silly season?

The behind-the-scenes silly season has been rampant in recent years, with teams eager to poach the best engineering and managerial minds in the game.

Grove Racing has already pulled off a coup, attracting Grant McPherson from WAU for 2023.

There’s likely to be more movement…

6) Who will be Holden’s last ever winner?

Just four races remain for the Holden Commodore, two of which will come at a fitting finale in Adelaide.

Shane van Gisbergen, Garth Tander and Triple Eight currently hold the mantle of being the last Holden winners in Repco Supercars Championship history.

7) Whincup’s next test

Triple Eight Race Engineering celebrates winning the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000

It’s hard to describe Jamie Whincup’s first year as Triple Eight boss as anything other than a barnstorming success.

Indeed, the Banyo juggernaut is on the brink of becoming the first team to ever win the Bathurst 1000, Supercars drivers’ championship, Supercars teams’ championship and Super2 Series all in a single year.

But Whincup will also be the first to admit that the foundations were very much already in place from the Roland Dane era.

How Triple Eight builds up to and performs during the first season of Gen3 – with the slate wiped clean – will be a taller task.

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