This weekend’s Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint marks just the second weekend for Matt Stone Racing’s full-time line-up of Jake Kostecki and Zane Goddard.
The duo held their own at the season-opening Repco Mt Panorama 500, with 21-year-old Kostecki recording a career-best finish of 13th in Race 1, one place behind teammate Goddard.
The results were fruit for effort, with both drivers sharing the team’s #34 entry in 2020 in the new SuperLite scheme.
Both drivers were promoted to main game drives in 2021, with Goddard impressing at Queensland Raceway to top official pre-season testing.
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The Bathurst baptism of fire for Kostecki and Goddard impressed Unit Marketing Manager Toby Lynch, whose company has backed MSR as a major backer since 2019.
Unit was a driving force behind the SuperLite programme, which saw MSR follow its ambition to help give young drivers a taste of the big time.
It paid dividends in 2020 amid a season punctuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Goddard recording a top 10 in Sydney.
"2020 was a year that no one could have predicted, and it threw numerous curve balls at the championship, including the teams and drivers," Lynch said.
The two youngsters come in at a combined age of 42
"It's a credit to both drivers that, despite being the youngest in the field, they were able to approach the challenges thrown at them with determination and maturity and deliver a series of solid race results.”
Both drivers recorded impressive junior results en route to the main game; notably, Kostecki was just 15 years old when he finished ninth in the V8 Touring Car Series, with Goddard finishing second in the National Rotax Karting Championship and 12th at the Rotax World Finals later that year.
Goddard also enjoyed a strong British F4 campaign in 2016, scoring wins at Croft, Knockhill and Silverstone.
For Lynch, seeing both drivers earn full-time drives in the Supercars Championship vindicated the ambition of the SuperLite programme.
Kostecki scored a career-best result in Bathurst
“They find themselves graduates of the program and in their own cars for 2021 which is the ultimate outcome,” Lynch said.
"As Bathurst showed this is now a chance for them to continue to build on their solid results and further refine their race craft against the series' best."
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria this weekend at the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint. Tickets are on sale now.