Aaron Loves joins James Courtney in expanded BRT line-up
2024 the first year for BRT as a two-car operation
Love won in Bathurst in otherwise tricky 2023 Super2 campaign
The Blanchard Racing Team won't put extra pressure on Aaron Love to perform in the Ford squad's first year as a two-car operation.
Love, 21, will make his full-time Supercars debut alongside 2010 champion James Courtney in an all-new, expanded BRT line-up.
The Blanchard family-owned team is one of the new season’s potential breakout stories, with the team recruiting two drivers at different stages of their careers.
Courtney, 43, arrives a proven star with over 550 races and a championship under his belt. Love, meanwhile, has a single season in Super2 and two enduro starts to his name.
However, the young West Aussie has proven fast in every category during his career, and was a rapid rookie in last year’s Dunlop Series in what was ultimately a luckless campaign.
Love was a frontrunner and scored a win at Mount Panorama, but was an unfortunate victim in a number of incidents, alongside a costly qualifying crash the day after his Bathurst win.
Love's signing comes amid a new wave of talent, with 21-year-olds Matt Payne and Broc Feeney first and second in the final race of 2023. Brodie Kostecki, 26, was champion, with 20-somethings Will Brown (25), Anton De Pasquale (28) and Cam Waters (29) all winning races.
It continues a trend of teams backing young talent, echoing the words of Jamie Whincup in 2021 who, after prior to announcing Feeney as his replacement, said teams must give young drivers at least two seasons to prove themselves.
For Team Manager Kate Harrington, who arrives from Tickford Racing, BRT will temper Love’s expectations rather than expecting the rookie to make waves early in the piece.
“I'm really excited to have Aaron onboard, he’s very detailed and a hard worker,” Harrington told Supercars.com.
“He’s done very well in other categories before this, but this is a big jump, going from one year in Super2 into Supercars.
"We’ll need to manage his expectations and our expectations, and be realistic about this year and not put extra pressure on him.
“We want to get the best out of him, and having JC onboard is great, because he’s such a great mentor himself.”
Love is one of three full-time rookies on the 2024 grid, alongside Super2 rival and Walkinshaw Andretti United driver Ryan Wood, and Brad Jones Racing recruit Jaxon Evans.
The trio forms one of the most accomplished and exciting rookie cohorts in years, each his significant success under their belts en route to the main game.
Love knows the step from a single Super2 season to the main game is a big one, but is confident BRT is the team to help him realise a dream at just 21.
“Even though I’ve only been a part of BRT for just under a year, I’ve got a lot of confidence in them and know they’ll do everything in their power to keep building the team and strive for success,” Love said at the time of his announcement.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge to step up, but to do it with like-minded people is rare. I’m very happy to be surrounded by a team who are all working to the same objective.”
Love, Courtney and BRT will test at Winton in early February ahead of the season-opening Thrifty Bathurst 500 on February 23-25.