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Best ready for promotion amid fierce title fight

Dunlop Series Super2
20 Nov
'I've been working really hard to make sure I'm ready to graduate and show everyone that I’m ready to be there'
4 mins by James Pavey
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  • Zak Best feels ready for main game amid Super2 title fight

  • Best leads Kai Allen by 30 points with one round to go

  • Benalla-born driver finished runner-up in 2021 and 2022

Armed with a new mindset, Zak Best is determined to take out a maiden Dunlop Series title amid hopes of a main game berth in 2024.

Best and Anderson Motorsport have led all the way in 2023, with the Benalla-born driver 30 points up the road ahead of this weekend’s VAILO Adelaide 500.

Standing in Best’s way of a first Super2 title is Eggleston Motorsport teen Kai Allen, with Ryan Wood, Cooper Murray and Zach Bates also in mathematical contention.

Best and Allen have combined to win four races and two rounds this season, and have largely stayed out of trouble to lead the way heading to Adelaide.

Both drivers want redemption — Best finished runner-up in 2021 and 2022, while Allen let slip the Super3 title after an Adelaide crash last year.

zak best bathurst pole 2

For Best, being the leader heading to the final round has the 22-year-old in a different state of mind, and he knows what he needs to do to get the job done.

“I’ve come second the last two years in a row, but this year we’re not going in as the chaser,” Best told Supercars.com.

“It’s definitely a different mindset going in, just got to finish the races in front of Kai is probably the main goal.

“We want to go out there and win races like we have at every round this year. What I’ve learned this year is managing a race, with pressure and stuff like that. We’ve led more races this year than last year.

“We had some pretty good speed there last year, the DJR car was quick there last year. Hopefully we can maximise that."

Best’s star has risen over his time as a Super2 contender, but the Victorian has been consigned to the sidelines when it comes to a main game seat. Notably, Fraser took up a vacancy at Tickford Racing for 2023, with Best left without a Super2 opportunity or wildcard at Tickford.

best newcastle podium 2023

Tickford and BJR are the only teams yet to formally announce their full-time 2024 line-ups, although Cam Waters and Thomas Randle are set to remain with the Blue Oval squad.

Andre Heimgartner and Bryce Fullwood have re-signed with BJR, with reports suggesting Best could yet link up with BJR.

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Best’s ambition is to prove that he is ready for the big time, something he has already proven with a stunning wildcard cameo at The Bend in 2022 that saw him become the youngest ever Supercars pole-sitter. Last month, he raced to sixth and lead Tickford car in the Repco Bathurst 1000 with James Courtney.

“It’s definitely frustrating that I’m not in the main series yet,” he said.

“This year, I’ve been working really hard, on and off the track to make sure I'm ready to graduate and show everyone that I’m ready to be there.

“I’d like to say I will be, I’m working on a few things. Hopefully something comes of it and I’ll be racing next year.”

Best challenged Broc Feeney for the 2021 crown before ultimately settling for second, before he was beaten by Triple Eight again — this time by Declan Fraser — 12 months ago.

zak best bathurst 2023 parc ferme

A move to Anderson Motorsport and into an ex-DJR Team Penske Mustang has seen Best reach new heights in 2023, and a title would be the ultimate reward after two years of misses.

“It’s been a great first year for the team,” he said of Anderson Motorsport.

“To possibly get a championship in their first year is pretty surreal.

“[Race engineer] Brendan Hogan and [team owner] Michael Anderson have been great to work with this year. I’ve learnt a lot from Brendan, with car set-up and mindset things.

“Winning the championship for my family and me, it’s something we’ve been pushing for for a while. We’ve been so close two years in a row.

“To finally be the one celebrating a win this time would be great."

Dunlop Series action at the VAILO Adelaide 500 will commence on Thursday.

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