FIFTH-YEAR Repco Supercars Championship driver Todd Hazelwood has spoken of the balancing act teams are playing through the back end of the 2022 season.
The category this weekend enters the penultimate event of its decade-long Car of the Future generation, with Gen3’s debut now less than five months away.
It’s been a season filled with mayhem and that’s unlikely to change with the concrete canyons of Gold Coast and Adelaide still to come.
Repairs aside, Hazelwood described an unusual situation that is playing out.
“There’s this real awkward scenario I suppose where obviously we don’t want to be spending so much money on the cars because it’s the back end of the championship,” said the driver who will switch from Matt Stone Racing to the Blanchard Racing Team during the upcoming off-season.
“You’ve got new componentry and equipment coming in for next year and these cars become redundant, but we can’t afford to skimp on parts obviously because we don’t want to sacrifice our performance in the back half of the year.
“It’s a really interesting scenario and it’s something that we probably haven’t seen in the sport for a while.”
Having been mired in a prolonged slump, chaos at the Gold Coast could present an opportunity for Hazelwood to jag a result before his second MSR stint is up.
But pushing the boundaries doesn’t come without risk, as evidenced by separate round-ending crashes for Chaz Mostert and Scott McLaughlin in 2019.
“Obviously last time we were here there was two cars written off over two days of action – you don’t normally see that at too many circuits just from drivers pushing the limits in qualifying,” said Hazelwood.
“Normally you see a car written off in a racing incident these days but to see cars pushed to the limits that hard in qualifying, I think that’s a good idea of probably what’s to come this weekend.
“Being the back end of the championship, everyone is pushing super hard at this point of the season to try to either finish the year on a high or salvage a result.
“I know for us, we’ve had a pretty tough end to this year so for us, we’re going to be giving it everything that we’ve got to finish 2022 on a high.”
Who replaces Hazelwood in MSR’s #35 Camaro is the main matter yet to be resolved in the 2023 driver market.