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Team Kiwi Racing eyes shock supercars return

Artist’s impression of a Holden ZB Commodore in Team Kiwi Racing equipment

Team Kiwi Racing is aiming for a surprising return to the Supercars grid with a wildcard at this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000.

Team owner David John has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that he has an agreement with Brad Jones Racing to drive a wild card in this year’s Great Race.

That would mean a joint effort between TKR and BJR to use a Holden ZB Commodore, which brings the Albury-based team to five cars in the famous endurance event.

Rumors of a BJR wildcard have been upsetting the Supercars paddock for months, despite the team recently dismissing such proposals.

Speedcafe.com believes that BJR has submitted a wildcard entry for the Bathurst 1000.

When approached by Speedcafe.com, Jones declined to discuss his team’s ties to a potential deal with TKR.

Speaking to Speedcafe.com, however, John said he had the funding and was committed to Jones.

“Brad is who we are committed to and who we love to keep,” John told Speedcafe.com.

“And he obviously has the wild card that is there and we announced our commitment to him.

“We’re 100 percent ready to go and I think the real point now is getting Darwin out of the way so we can all move forward.”

The Kiwi Racing team was last on the Supercars starting grid in 2009

At least one driver appears to be locked in the wildcard, namely the front runner of the Super2 series, Jordan Boys.

The boys raced with Todd Hazelwood in the Bathurst 1000 for BJR last year and is believed to have been promised a second straight campaign in 2021.

On the other side of the picture you can see the Kiwi driver TKR.

John said there was no shortage of riders from New Zealand keen to compete in Australia’s biggest race.

The team boss has a shortlist of drivers for the seat, with his two top picks being current super license holders.

That leaves some options on the table, as the Superlicence was only introduced by Motorsport Australia in 2017.

Five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Steven Richards, three-time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Chris van der Drift and reigning Supercars DSA Craig Baird are eligible to receive a super license.

Speedcafe.com believes John approached van der Drift to drive for him, although it is believed he turned down the offer.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia winner Jaxon Evans is another young Kiwi driver who meets the criteria and has collected enough points for a super license.

While a seasoned mind might be the team’s path, John said he recognized the team’s role in nurturing talent.

TKR has played a role in the careers of established names Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard and Andre Heimgartner, as well as greats like Chris Pither, Baird and the late Jason Richards.

“It’s not difficult for us to find a Kiwi driver who will take the opportunity,” said John.

“The cool thing is that especially in this championship, and I think a lot of people forget, that every Kiwi driver in this championship was supported and started there [in Australia] with team Kiwi Racing.

“I think Supercars misses that point a lot. Everyone here [in New Zealand] sees that.

“But we’d like to think that Team Kiwi Racing has a little more supercar time and here’s an opportunity that could possibly see us on the grid.”

Jordan Boys has been linked to a Bathurst 1000 wild card

The renewed effort for a wildcard comes two years after a failed attempt to use van der Drift and then Porsche Junior Evans in a Holden ZB Commodore.

John had attempted to field the pair in a BJR run despite a deal with the Albury-based team that failed late in the play due to extenuating circumstances.

Then at the last minute it was agreed that TKR would use a Triple Eight Race Engineering car.

Ultimately, the wildcard would not come to fruition, John mentioned insufficient funds and a short turnaround time for the hastily organized program with the Banyo-based team.

If the wildcard comes together, the Bathurst 1000 field would increase to 27 cars in 2021.

Earlier this year, Triple Eight Race Engineering announced a wild card with Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney, supported by Supercheap Auto.

In the meantime, Erebus Motorsport will run the Boost Mobile-backed duo Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway.

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