Rookie label no barrier for Kiwi star Evans

11 Jan
New Zealander talks pathway to replacing Jack Smith, adapting from Porsche to Supercar, and his 2024 outlook
  • Porsche star Jaxon Evans one of three full-time rookies in 2024

  • BJR, SCT Logistics picked the Kiwi race to replace Jack Smith

  • Evans will race all-Pro Bathurst 12 Hour entry before Supercars debut

Jaxon Evans may enter 2024 attached with the ‘rookie’ tag, but the Brad Jones Racing recruit remains is determined to show the Supercars world what he is capable of.

BJR has recruited Evans to replace Jack Smith, who stepped away from full-time Supercars racing at the end of 2023, in the SCT Logistics Camaro.

Porsche star Evans shifts to Supercars full-time despite having just three starts — all as Smith’s enduro co-driver — to his name.

It’s a contrast to fellow rookies Ryan Wood and Aaron Love, who at least have a full Dunlop Series campaign under their belts, with Love also racing in the 2023 enduros.

For now, Evans — the 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion — puts a full-time tilt at international endurance racing on ice to “have a crack” at Supercars.

The Kiwi’s pathway to replacing Smith began during his stint Down Under last year, when he was approached about the future prospect of racing in the main game.

evans bathurst smith 2023

BJR had already flown out of the blocks with Gen3, Andre Heimgartner becoming a regular of the podium as the Albury squad eventually secured third in the teams’ championship.

“It was an open discussion with no real intent on my side, because I was unaware what Jack was doing, or if it was a thought he had,” Evans told Supercars.com.

“It wasn’t until after Bathurst, and once Jack made that decision, that Andrew [Jones] reached out and asked if it fit into my aspirations.

“I had other things that could’ve happened, with Porsche and another manufacturer. But this was the option I wanted to pursue, I wanted to have a crack.

“The team did a solid job in the first year of Gen3, and I didn’t want to get too far behind the eight ball if I wanted to join the championship full-time.

“With Car of the Future, certain teams and drivers were on top of it, and they were super hard to catch. Gen3 brought everyone to a level playing field.

004-Smith-EV10-23-MH2 7233

“It certainly helped doing Sandown and Bathurst last year, and I felt super comfortable with the guys in the team. It’s certainly not an easy championship, and that’s what excited me most.”

Like countryman and Bathurst winner Richie Stanaway, Evans suits up full-time after completing co-driver duties the previous year. Both drivers impressed, with Evans charging through the field in his stints at both Sandown and Bathurst.

"I’m going from a co-driver role where you have to stay out of trouble and hand the car back, to now being the main driver — what I put in is what I'm gonna get out,” he added.

“It’ll be cool to see where we stack up with everyone else. Say I did last year's enduros and felt like a fish out of water, perhaps my decision would have been different, or I would’ve needed something else to convince me.

“But I really enjoyed the different dynamic of the way the races were last year. I didn’t feel too out of my depth, I could apply previous experience to the Supercar.

“That all helped me go, ‘Okay, I can see myself doing this’, and that I could make something out of this opportunity."

smith evans garage bathurst 2023

After winning the Carrera Cup title in Australia, Evans was signed as a Porsche and later switched attention to endurance racing, competing in the likes of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Daytona 24 Hour and 12 Hours of Sebring.

This year, Evans will have to readapt to sprint racing — but the competitive shift in endurance racing, along with prior experience in early days racing Carrera Cup and Porsche Supercup, have him in good stead.

“I love sprint racing, I’ve now scratched the itch of endurance racing with Porsche, which hopefully I’ll continue to do to,” said Evans, who will move from London to the Gold Coast in the coming days.

“Sprint racing is fun, you can really show off your racecraft. It’s not a big mindset change, but I understand it anyway, coming from Carrera Cup and Supercup.

“You’re 110 per cent all the way in 30 to 45-minute races, but even then, a lot of endurance racing these days is like a sprint anyway, with hour-long stints."

At 27, Evans still has a long career ahead, and left the door open to return to a future return to the Porsche fold and endurance racing.

evans adac masters 2023

With the 2024 Supercars season at 12 events, Evans has several opportunities to fill his calendar with more racing, but is motivated to prove his worth and push the SCT Chevrolet towards the front of the grid.

“It's a funny label to have, that’s for sure,” he said when asked about the rookie label.

“It’s an appropriate label when it comes to Supercars, but it’s nice when people recognise what I’ve achieved here and overseas.

"I think laying down goals for results could be a bit ambitious. But collectively with SCT and BJR, we have clear intentions of what we want to be achieving.

“I want to show what I’m capable of. There’s still a few unknowns — as a co-driver, you’re not always stacked up against the main drivers on track. 

“We want to prove we can move further up the grid and achieve solid results so by November, we can be proud of what we have achieved."

Evans will make his full-time Supercars debut at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 on February 23-25. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

Supercars App

Related News