The final piece of the puzzle has fallen into place for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, with Tim Blanchard confirmed to pair up with Macauley Jones.
Following Kelly Racing’s announcement of Dylan O’Keeffe last night, the #3 Team CoolDrive Commodore was the last remaining co-drive left up for grabs out of the 24 full-time championship entries.
Garry Rogers Motorsport is set to field a wildcard that would bump the field up to 25, although planned rookie driver Nathan Herne has not been granted a dispensation to compete by Motorsport Australia.
As for Blanchard, this will mark his 10th attempt at the Mountain. The 2007 Australian Formula Ford champion, he brings the experience of five full Supercars seasons to the table.
The 33-year-old partnered Nick Percat during the 2019 PIRTEK Enduro Cup; it was with Jones though in 2016 (pictured below) that he achieved his best Bathurst finish of 10th place.
On that occasion it was Jones co-driving to Blanchard but four years later the roles have reversed – Blanchard having retired from full-time competition at the end of 2018.
“I’m really looking forward to joining Macca this year at Bathurst,” Blanchard said.
“The last time we drove together was 2016 Bathurst when we finished in the top 10 so I’m hoping we can replicate that result this year.
“Macca has taken a step forward as he gets used to racing in the main game so I’m hoping to provide the support he needs this year to continue that progression.
“It will be an interesting race this year as all the co-drivers are coming into the race with very limited mileage in the lead up.
“Having worked closely with Macca and BJR over the last few years, hopefully that plays to our advantage.”
Jones is keen to reunite with Blanchard for the October 15-18 event.
“It’s been great to have Tim back on track the last few rounds overseeing the team as it helps to build our relationship and it makes a smooth transition when he steps in as my co-driver,” said Jones.
“We’ve been going through all the data together and working closely so Tim understands everything that is going on with the car and what needs to be done.
“I’m feeling positive heading into Bathurst and having a partner with the experience and knowledge that Tim has will work in our favour.
“We’ve worked well in the past when we drove together back in 2016 so if we can bring it all together on the day, I know it’ll be a strong result for us.”