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Why Hill got the nod at MSR

CAMERON Hill’s experience across a variety of categories was a key consideration behind Matt Stone Racing signing the rookie for 2023.

Hill has won the hotly contested race to what is likely the last available seat on the 2023 main game grid, despite him having just nine Super2 races under his belt.

His Triple Eight teammate Declan Fraser was long considered the favourite, while three-time Bathurst 1000 starter Jayden Ojeda and the youngest polesitter in Supercars Championship history Zak Best were others in the mix.

But it was Hill who got the nod.

“The thing that stood out about Cam is he’s got a little bit more age and maturity to him and he has raced a broad variety of cars, obviously starting in Formula Ford which I think is very important that a lot of guys miss these days; but also Carrera Cup, Toyota 86, Super2,” MSR owner Matt Stone told V8 Sleuth.

“Being Gen3, it is a Supercar but a different iteration of Supercar.

“Having that broader experience we think should come in handy with helping him adapt to the new ruleset next year.

“Another key factor was that he seems to be a very sensible driver, a safe set of hands.

“With new machinery next year, keeping the cars straight and being able to spend resources developing them rather than repairing them is certainly a way we’re going to try to get ahead.

“So we assessed him as being a good, sensible, safe pair of hands as well as a good talent.”

Hill’s rookie status will allow him an additional three test days next year; the timing of his promotion also means he cedes no real equipment-specific headstart to more experienced rivals.

For now, the deal appears to be a one-year arrangement, although there is eagerness on both sides to ensure they extend beyond that.

“Certainly it’s my view that all rookies need to look at it as a two-year endeavour,” said Stone.

“When we brought Todd (Hazelwood) in, we always said it had to be two years because 2018 was a debut and who knows what is going to happen.

“I think the difference is with Gen3 being at everyone’s core focus and how these cars debut and roll out next year, probably we’ve had less emphasis on looking as far past next year. It’s more just looking at next year.

“But certainly we’re not looking to have a different guy in the seat every year, we want to build continuity over years so I’d certainly be thinking there’s an option there for multiple years on top of this one.”

Cameron Hill. Pic: Nathan Wong

MSR has endured a dire second half of the 2022 season but Stone feels well placed to improve markedly next year.

“This year we started off strong and then we sort of lost momentum,” he said.

“We had a lot I guess going on off the track within the team, Super2 and Super3 and other bits and pieces.

“For years we have been looking at Gen3 as our focus and obviously having to do one more year than planned with the current equipment kind of changed our plans. Whether our aging equipment has been to our detriment this year (I don’t know).

“But certainly we have put a lot of focus on next year with the Gen3 program and we’re assessing other bits and pieces within the team to make sure that all our resources and focus can be on delivering really good performance with Gen3 in Supercars.”

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