Bathurst wildcard car’s dramatic history

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 11/06/2019
  • By Aaron Noonan, Stefan Bartholomaeus

The Triple Eight Holden that Kostecki Brothers Racing will campaign as a wildcard in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 already has a place in Great Race history.

Dunlop Super2 team KBR is upgrading the VF Commodore currently used by Jake Kostecki to ZB specification for use in all three PIRTEK Enduro Cup events.

Jake will share the entry with cousin Brodie, marking the maiden Virgin Australia Supercars Championship starts for both drivers.

Their car, codenamed 888A-039, has a handful of main game appearances to its name, including the 2014 Bathurst 1000.

It was built new as a VF Commodore by Triple Eight Race Engineering and debuted by Craig Lowndes and Steve Richards in Red Bull colours at Sandown in 2014.

The car ran in special Navy livery at Bathurst that year and was cannoned into by the brakeless Warren Luff at Griffins Bend in Saturday practice.

Unlike Luff’s Holden Racing Team Commodore, the Lowndes entry was repaired for race day, which would be its only Bathurst 1000 to date.

It finished 10th after Lowndes received a late-race pitlane penalty for bumping Mark Winterbottom into a spin on the exit of Hell Corner while battling for second.

Sydney, 2014

Lowndes raced this chassis for the remainder of the 2014 season, suffering another heavy crash at the Sydney season finale, before being benched for ’15.

As it turned out, it sat on the sidelines for the entire ’15 season and was sold to Kostecki Brothers Racing for Kurt Kostecki to drive in the 2016 Dunlop Series.

It was re-liveried to Preston Hire colours midway through that year and leased for Townsville and Ipswich by Charlie Schwekolt’s Team 18.

That deal, struck in the wake of a big crash for Lee Holdsworth that destroyed Team 18’s regular car, included having Kurt Kostecki behind the wheel.

Townsville, 2016

Kostecki again raced the car in the 2017 Dunlop Super2 Series before brother Jake drove it in '18 and the first two rounds of this year in Adelaide and at Barbagallo.

Jake will move into the chassis that Brodie has been racing for the upcoming Super2 round in Townsville next month, with Brodie to sit out the remainder of the second-tier season.

The VF-to-ZB conversion of 888A-039 is already underway, with initial work having taken place at KBR before a stint at chassis specialist Pace Innovations.

“It’s pretty much like building a new car. It’s a big job,” Brodie Kostecki told Supercars.com of the undertaking.

“We’ve done a lot of work ourselves, taking off all of the VF parts.

“It was quite interesting bringing the car out of its current form and getting it prepared to be turned into a ZB.

“Pace Innovations and Triple Eight have both helped us out with the conversion so far. It’s been difficult and exciting at the same time.

“We’re currently about halfway through it. Pace will now continue to put on the ZB chassis-critical parts and we’ll go from there.”

Adelaide, 2019

Brodie has already had a taste of a Triple Eight ZB, driving Shane van Gisbergen’s car during a recent evaluation test, and hopes to lean on the team at the enduro events.

“When I did the test drive in Shane’s car I noticed a few differences in how the car drives just from aero,” he said.

“It’ll definitely be good to have that support there and also have data from Shane and Jamie [Whincup] around the mountain as well.

“I think that’ll be really beneficial for us.”

As for the livery the car will carry, Kostecki says to expect something different from the grey look of family company Acroweld used by the team in Super2.

“That’s a work in progress. We have a few options going at the moment,” he said.

“It definitely won’t be looking like the Super2 cars, we’re going to try and come out with a bang and try and come up with something new and exciting.”

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter