As 2023 winds down, Supercars.com is looking over all 11 teams and their performances in this year's Repco Supercars Championship, continuing with Tickford Racing.
Tickford Racing has long been the 'nearly' team of Supercars, and 2023 was no different amid runs of success, poor form, parity woes and questions over the make-up of the team's future.
The team entered 2023 off the back of Cam Waters' run to his second runner-up championship finish in three seasons. Waters inherited victory in the Newcastle opener after both Triple Eight cars were disqualified, signalling Tickford seemed a team to beat.
However, at times, Tickford seemed to beat itself. Waters crashed chasing Chaz Mostert in the second Newcastle race, his car caught on fire in Darwin while leading, and both enduros ended in heartbreak with James Moffat at the wheel.
James Courtney was caught up in several incidents, and also struck misfortune with a fire of his own in Melbourne. Rookie Declan Fraser was also a victim of several incidents, while Thomas Randle had to grapple poor luck of his own.
However, when the planets align, Tickford time and again proves its worth as an elite team. Waters and Randle showed signs of what's to come in 2024 with several standout performances, with the latter nailing three Bend podiums from three with a maiden pole to boot.
Waters, meanwhile, held off the likes of Shane van Gisbergen (Gold Coast) and David Reynolds (Adelaide) to win two of the best races of the season.
Season results and head-to-heads
Drivers' finish: Cam Waters 6th, Thomas Randle 13th, James Courtney 17th, Declan Fraser 24th
Teams' finish: 4th (Cam Waters/James Courtney), 11th (Thomas Randle/DeclanFraser)
Best result: 1st (Cam Waters three wins)
Qualifying head to head: Cam Waters 19, Thomas Randle 5, James Courtney 3, Declan Fraser 1
Race head to head: Cam Waters 17, Thomas Randle 6, James Courtney 5, Declan Fraser 0
What’s next in 2024?
Tickford Racing started and ended the season in victory lane. To win a championship, it needs to stay there all year.
That will be the goal for the team, which for the first time in over 10 years, has two cars to focus on. Waters and Randle will lead Tickford's charge in 2024, with Fraser departing and Courtney being picked up by the expanded Blanchard Racing Team.
Critically, the team enters a new season with a new boss for the first time in nearly 20 years, with long-time Team Principal and CEO Tim Edwards joining Supercars as its new motorsport head. Tickford has yet to lock in a new leader, but with two cars and two motivated drivers, there's every chance they'll inherit a team on the up.
Waters and Randle went from strength to strength as the year wore on, and will prove a formidable pairing should Tickford be consistent round to round. The Campbellfield squad has never won a teams' championship, and there's every chance that could be achieved if consistency is found.
At 29 and 27, Waters and Randle are far from their peak. However, Tickford must give them good cars at every round should the Ford squad add to its 2015 championship. That hole seems to be in the races, with Waters second on average in qualifying in 2023, amid all the parity questions.