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Unfinished business for Triple Eight wildcard

THERE is a clear sense of unfinished business when it comes to Triple Eight’s 2024 Supercars wildcard program.

This is the fourth successive season in which Triple Eight has fielded an additional main game entry underpinned by Supercheap Auto, having initially done so for Broc Feeney and Russell Ingall at the 2021 Great Race.

Declan Fraser and Craig Lowndes teamed up the following year to place eighth in the Bathurst 1000, before the program expanded in 2023 to comprise a solo cameo for Zane Goddard and a two-part enduro campaign for he and Lowndes.

This time around, it will be rookie Cooper Murray alongside Bathurst legend Lowndes, in another three-round program.

That will see Murray make his top-level debut this weekend in Darwin.

“He’s very meticulous, he’s very fit and he’s very focused,” Lowndes told V8 Sleuth of Murray.

Cooper Murray. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

For Lowndes, fresh off competing in the Finke Desert Race, there is added motivation after last year’s Bathurst dream derailed early due to a gearshift tower drama.

“Absolutely, there’s no doubt,” the 49-year-old told V8 Sleuth when asked if there was a feeling of unfinished business.

“I felt for Zane because we had a good car come race day.

“We put Zane under pressure to qualify; I qualified the first year, Zane qualified last year. I’m not sure whether Cooper or I will qualify this year at the moment, but we’ll get him through Darwin and see how he goes. That will be his pressure cooker.

“But yeah, we have got some unfinished business.

Craig Lowndes. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

“I’ve said to Cooper, ‘we just need to play the smart game’. For him obviously it is going to be a different level because Super2 has got quality but here we have got the depth.

“It’s the same program as the last two years, keeping him level-headed as the week goes on, don’t put any extra pressure on him.

“Darwin is going to be a great thing for him because for Zane last year, he learnt how to manage the tyre better.

“That’s where for Cooper, in Super2 you have still got the anti-rollbars whereas this doesn’t, so there is a lot of differences car-to-car.

“So Darwin is going to be valuable for Cooper like it was to Zane last year.”

Pic: Matthew Paul Photography
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