Although a desirable proposition for many, filling the boots of a seven-time champion won’t be an easy task; Whincup has already hit the top step this season, winning in Tasmania.
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A front-runner is Triple Eight Super2 young gun Broc Feeney, who is also competing for the team in Hyundai Excels, and was recently announced as van Gisbergen's replacement in the team’s GT World Challenge Australia entry.
With speculation of Shane van Gisbergen’s new running mate likely to continue throughout the season, Tickford Racing driver Cameron Waters believes Feeney is leading the race.
“Broc Feeney is at the front really,” Waters told Supercars.com.
“He’s doing a lot with Triple Eight in all their different cars and as a wildcard as well.”
Feeney (#888) en route to Super2 victory in February
While ruling himself out of a switch to the Red Bull Ampol Racing seat, Waters, who is currently on a multi-year deal with Tickford, commented on rumours his former teammate Chaz Mostert could be a possibility.
“Everyone says Chaz but I’m not really sure that’s going to happen,” Waters said.
Mostert delivered his first win for Walkinshaw Andretti United at Symmons Plains earlier this month, having shifted from Tickford ahead of the 2020 season.
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Other possibilities in the current field include Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat, who is currently in his fifth season with the Albury-based team and continues to bring home top 10 results.
Andre Heimgartner, who is still only 25 years old, continues to improve, and is the same age van Gisbergen was when he signed with Triple Eight in 2016.
The Kelly Grove Racing driver netted two second-place finishes and a maiden pole position in 2020.
Heimgartner impressed in 2020
BJR young gun and 2017 Super2 champion Todd Hazelwood could be another option.
Hazelwood has already ticked off some major career goals, having scored a maiden podium and pole in 2020.