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Triple Eight’s new focus following Stanaway, Fraser moves

TRIPLE Eight Race Engineering has turned its attention to signing the sixth and final piece of the puzzle for its Supercars enduros driver roster.

The team acted swiftly to replace five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander with the supremely talented Richie Stanaway as Shane van Gisbergen’s 2023 co-driver.

Now with Declan Fraser off to Tickford Racing, it has one more signing to make to continue its three-car enduro program as well as ensuring there’s room for both Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes in the co-driver field.

Fraser and Lowndes combined for eighth place in last year’s Great Race and were initially expected to remain together, until those plans were upended when a full-time drive came the 2022 Super2 Series winner’s way.

MORE: Why Tickford chose Fraser over Best

Triple Eight managing director Whincup said there was never any consideration to block Fraser’s move to their Ford rivals.

“Obviously we had him pencilled in to do any wildcard opportunity that we may have had this year, but that’s what our junior development program is all about: it’s showing young kids’ talent for them to live their dream,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“And for Declan, that’s being in the main game Supercars Championship.

“An opportunity came up for him to do that and we couldn’t be happier for him.

“It has obviously interrupted our plans but we certainly put a young kid’s life ahead of our plans.

“It doesn’t matter if we had the tightest contract of all, it’s null avoid and void, there’s absolutely no way we would have stood in the way of him doing what he wanted to do.

“We thank him for his contribution in Super2 last year and we wish him all the best. We had a good time so you never say never – he might end up back here at some stage!”

Whincup affirmed the next step is to add another driver into its ranks for the Lowndes-led wildcard.

That third car will be separate to the Peter Adderton-owned Camaro which Triple Eight is building.

“That’s the next part of the puzzle now, and of course no wildcard is guaranteed, it has got to be decided on at Supercars Commission,” said the seven-time champion, who completed Gen3 testing yesterday.

“We would love to run a program. We have got to go through all of the paperwork first and if the opportunity is there we will look forward to putting another car on the grid for more entertainment for the fanbase.”

Whincup is likely to be back in the #88 Red Bull Ampol Supercar with Broc Feeney at the Sandown 500 and Repco Bathurst 1000.

He will also drive in one of two Triple Eight Mercedes at next month’s Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, joining forces with Stanaway and Prince Jefri Ibrahim while van Gisbergen, Feeney and Maximilian Götz vie for outright honours in a Supercheap Auto-backed entry.

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