PIRTEK Enduro Cup grid nearing completion

  • 14/02/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Supercars teams have struck early to secure co-drivers for the 2018 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, with the field taking shape well ahead of September's Sandown 500.

Few teams will have completely stable line-ups, thanks in part to the full-time driver shuffle that includes five rookies joining the field.

Among those impacted by full-time moves is Tickford Racing, which needed to revamp its line-up following Richie Stanaway’s graduation.

Confirmation today of David Russell completes its new line-up, with James Moffat announced last month and Dean Canto and Steve Owen on multi-year deals.

The team is yet to confirm pairings, although a reshuffle is thought likely to split reigning PIRTEK Enduro Cup winners Chaz Mostert and Owen.

Moffat is tipped to join Mostert, leaving Owen with Stanaway, Russell with Cameron Waters and Mark Winterbottom continuing with Canto.

Mostert and Owen took out the PEC in 2017 Mostert and Owen took out the PEC in 2017

Others to announce co-driver deals but delay locking down pairings include Garry Rogers Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport.

GRM retains Richard Muscat and has secured Chris Pither following James Golding’s move to a full-time drive.

Erebus meanwhile re-signed reigning Bathurst winner Luke Youlden and snapped up Super2 standout Will Brown for his maiden PIRTEK Enduro Cup appearance.

Matt Brabham is also set for his first enduro campaign having signed on to join Lee Holdsworth at Preston Hire Racing, replacing Karl Reindler.

Nissan Motorsport is another set for change, with MW Motorsport Super2 signings Garry Jacobson and Alex Rullo tipped to join its line-up alongside Andre Heimgartner and Simona De Silvestro respectively.

David Wall and Dean Fiore are, however, expected to be retained, with team co-owner Todd Kelly having declared no interest in co-driving after stepping back from full-time driving at the end of 2017.

Elsewhere, there is also change at Triple Eight, with Earl Bamber joining Shane van Gisbergen in place of Matt Campbell, who has clashing Porsche commitments.

Campbell is thought likely to race at Bathurst in the team’s mooted V6 turbo wildcard entry, should it get off the ground.

Le Mans winner Earl Bamber joins Red Bull Le Mans winner Earl Bamber joins Red Bull

Its Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell and Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards pairings remain for a seventh and fifth year respectively.

Although yet to announce, Shell V-Power Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United and Brad Jones Racing, with its two main entries, are understood to have opted for stability.

Plans for BJR’s third car, run as Tim Blanchard Racing, are unclear due to Todd Hazelwood’s main game move with Matt Stone Racing, which is also without a co-driver.

The obvious candidate for MSR is recently-retired full-timer Jason Bright, whose Racing Entitlements Contract is being utilised by the team this season.

MSR Super2 driver Bryce Fullwood is meanwhile among the next crop of young guns looking for a maiden enduro opportunity as he prepares to enter his fourth second-tier season. 

23Red Racing is yet to confirm a partner for Will Davison, although his brother Alex is considered the most likely to secure the seat.

Tekno Autosports owner Jonathon Webb turned laps in his team’s new ZB last week but is again thought likely to wait until closer to Sandown to confirm his participation.

2018 PIRTEK Enduro Cup driver market summary

Confirmed

Red Bull Holden Racing Team 
Paul Dumbrell, Earl Bamber

Autobarn Lowndes Racing
Steven Richards

Tickford Racing
Dean Canto, David Russell, James Moffat, Steve Owen

Garry Rogers Motorsport
Chris Pither, Richard Muscat

Erebus Motorsport
Luke Youlden, Will Brown

Preston Hire Racing
Matt Brabham

Expected

Shell V-Power Racing
Tony D’Alberto, Alex Premat

Tekno Autosports
Jonathon Webb

Nissan Motorsport
Garry Jacobson, David Wall, Dean Fiore, Alex Rullo

Walkinshaw Andretti United
Warren Luff, Jack Perkins

Brad Jones Racing
Macauley Jones, Ash Walsh

23 Red Racing
Alex Davison

Unclear

Tim Blanchard Racing

Matt Stone Racing

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