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Lowndes' key Goddard objective with wildcard

03 Jun
Triple Eight wildcard has launched two main game careers
2 mins by James Pavey
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Craig Lowndes hopes this year’s Triple Eight wildcard can act as a springboard for Zane Goddard back into the main game.

Lowndes and Goddard will share the #888 Supercheap Auto Camaro at Sandown and Bathurst later this year.

The two drivers tested the new car at Queensland Raceway for the first time on Thursday.

Goddard, 23, will first race the car as a solo driver at the upcoming betr Darwin Triple Crown, his first solo start since 2021.

The Triple Eight wildcard, which debuted in 2021, played a key role in the full-time futures of Broc Feeney and Declan Fraser.

Fraser and Lowndes combined to record the best ever Bathurst wildcard finish, eighth, last year.

Feeney and Fraser moved into the main game shortly afterwards — and Lowndes hopes Goddard can do the same.

Teams put through their paces in crucial test

"For Zane, it’s great because he’s never had a brand-new car, so he got to break it in,” Lowndes said.

"Today is all about giving Zane more miles — I’ve been in the car to evaluate it and give my feedback on where I think the car is at.

"Zane and I talk the same language which I think is really positive.

"It’s great to have this program to get the youth into the sport.

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“Although Zane has already been there, hopefully through this wildcard we can get him back into the main game.”

Goddard has raced full-time in Supercars before, first with Matt Stone Racing in 2020 and 2021 — albeit the first year as a car-share ‘SuperLite' driver.

His last start in Supercars ended in heartbreak, Goddard crashing out of last year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 early on while racing with James Courtney and Tickford Racing.

Drivers bracing for Darwin heat

The Gold Coaster also has backing from Shane van Gisbergen, who said the young driver was “unfairly smashed” after the incident.

“I think this program is awesome,” van Gisbergen said of the wildcard.

“Firstly, because Craig is still able to perform at Bathurst – he loves that – and to have him there every year and see how re-energised he is every year is awesome.

“For Declan, it gave him the opportunity to go and do bigger things, it gave him a good shot for his first Bathurst, and then now he’s full-time.

“For Zane, it’s a bit of redemption. He got unfairly smashed, in my opinion, for what happened last year, his mistake.

“Then this year, he gets mentoring by Craig and then an opportunity in a great car to go and have a go at the race.”

Goddard will race at Hidden Valley Raceway on June 16-18 before the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 on September 15-17, and the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8.

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