Dunlop Super2 Series front-runner Kurt Kostecki will return to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship as a wildcard at next month’s Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint.
Kostecki, 19, will step up to the main series with his family team Kostecki Brothers Racing, fielding the ex-Triple Eight VF model Holden he currently races in the second-tier.
It will mark a return to the top flight for Kostecki, who drove for Preston Hire Racing at Townsville and Ipswich in 2016, subbing for an injured Lee Holdsworth.
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Now armed with more Super2 experience, the Brisbane-based West Aussie is eager to again test himself against Supercars’ best.
He is the second SuperSprint wildcard confirmed for 2018, with Brad Jones Racing preparing to field Macauley Jones in a fourth ZB at Hidden Valley later this month.
Jones and Kostecki are also likely to appear at the Tailem Bend SuperSprint in August, although both are yet to confirm those plans.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up,” Kostecki, currently third in the Super2 standings, told Supercars.com of his Ipswich wildcard.
“I think with the structure of the team and how we’ve been going this year in the Super2 Series, it’s going to be a lot better than last time.
“When I was there in 2016, I didn’t know anyone in the team beforehand, there was a lot to take in, but this is very different and I’ve got a couple more years experience.
“The biggest thing for me will be to get the soft tyre miles up, because we’re on the hard tyre all the time in Super2,” he added.
“Getting those miles will definitely help me a lot, especially if we’re looking at stepping into the enduros next year with a team, I can say we’ve done a round on a soft tyre.
“Other than that, it’s just about having a solid run, making no mistakes, bringing it back straight and seeing where we end up.
“I think there’s no doubt we can run strongly. I don’t know where that’ll be, but the first thing will be to keep our nose clean.”
Kostecki’s Holden, which was campaigned by Shane van Gisbergen in 2017, will be the first VF to run in the main series this year.
Although the team looked at the option of transferring its running gear into a leased ZB for the wildcard, Kostecki says he’s happy to stick with what he knows.
“We looked at a few different options, but we decided that with where we’re at with the development of our car, it’ll be the best thing for us to stay in it,” he said.
“At a track like Queensland Raceway, there’s no doubt that the car is fast when everything is right. I don’t see it being a disadvantage at all, really.”
Kostecki debuted in Super2 as a 16-year-old in the 2014 season finale, running a part-program the following year with RSport.
KBR was established for Kurt and brother Jake in ’16, fielding two ex-Triple Eight Holdens initially from Perth, before moving to Brisbane to be closer to the main game squad.
Kurt finished 16th in points during that first KBR season, eighth last year and currently sits third after three rounds in 2018, having scored a maiden podium in the Adelaide opener.
The squad was beefed up over the 2017/18 off-season, including the hiring of team manager/engineer Geoff Slater and the addition of a third car for cousin Brodie.
Kurt had combined his KBR duties with work as a mechanic at nearby Triple Eight over recent years, but finished with the heavyweight team at the start of this week.
“I’m working for the team [KBR] full-time now, trying to concentrate on that a little bit more,” he explained.
“It just allows me to focus on my driving and have some more flexibility, working with Geoff a little bit closer on different things that will help for the rest of the year.”
SuperSprint wildcards will be the extent of Kostecki’s main game running this year, sitting out the enduros after undertaking an evaluation test with Triple Eight in January.