2013 V8 Supercars silly season remains wide open
Recent paddock speculation and the winding down of the 2012 championship has increased the focus on the 2013 V8 Supercars season and who goes where in the first year of the Car of the Future regulations.
Here is a team-by-team guide on which drivers are locked in and which are free and where they could go in 2013:
Triple Eight (Holden):
Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes are locked in for the two-car Red Bull-backed team. Focus is on whether retiring MotoGP star Casey Stoner will sign with the team to run in the second tier Dunlop Series.
Ford Performance Racing (Ford):
Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison will campaign two Pepsi Max-backed factory Ford entries. David Reynolds remains in the Rod Nash Racing Bottle-O-backed entry. Ford Performance Racing expands to a fourth car with the arrival of Charlie Schwerkolt's #18 Racing Entitlement Contract (REC) from Dick Johnson Racing. Paddock speculation has linked Shane van Gisbergen and SP Tools with a move away from Stone Brothers Racing following the switch to Mercedes-Benz to join the factory Ford team's fourth entry with the team's Dunlop Series driver Chaz Mostert the favourite should that deal not happen.
Walkinshaw Racing (Holden):
Garth Tander and James Courtney remain in the two Holden Racing Team entries. Russell Ingall is tipped to extend his stay in the third Supercheap Auto-backed entry. In contrast to Tander and Courtney, the deal is not yet complete, although it's reportedly very close.
Stone Brothers Racing (Mercedes-Benz):
Lee Holdsworth and Tim Slade are set to stay in the new Erebus/Stone Brothers Racing team running AMG-prepared Mercedes-Benzs, although Slade is likely to get a new title sponsor with Lucky7 unlikely to continue. Meanwhile, with the questions that have emerged over van Gisbergen and SP Tools' future with the team, an Erebus-backed Mercedes favoured driver could be in the frame.
Nissan Motorsport/Kelly Racing (Nissan):
Rick and Todd Kelly will run in two Jack Daniel's-backed Altimas. Current drivers (Greg Murphy and Karl Reindler) and title sponsors will depart. Norton is set to move from Dick Johnson Racing to back the two other cars with Norton-backed James Moffat likely to move with his sponsor and Michael Caruso the favourite to complete the four-car team.
Brad Jones Racing (Holden):
Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard likely to remain with their current sponsors but questions marks surround the third entry currently occupied by David Wall and backed by Wilson Security.
Dick Johnson Racing (Ford):
Steven Johnson likely to stay although the team is set to lose title sponsors Jim Beam, Norton, the #18 REC, Moffat and possibly another of its RECs. Dean Fiore likely to keep his REC at the team although uncertainty remains over the Paul Morris' REC, currently running Steve Owen, which has been linked with a move to Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
Tekno Autosports (Holden):
Jonathon Webb will remain in the family-owned team, which will continue to run two Triple Eight customer entries, although he will have a new teammate with Michael Patrizi unlikely to remain with the team. Endurance co-driver Scott McLaughlin, Murphy and Caruso could be possibilities, the latter two with Holden backing.
Garry Rogers Motorsport (Holden):
Could have an all-new line-up with Caruso expected to depart and Alex Prémat seemingly out of favour with the team. McLaughlin and Murphy also in contention here. McLaughlin already has the backing of the team's title sponsor Fujitsu, putting him in a strong position. Endurance co-driver Greg Ritter also in the mix – highly-rated by the team.
Tony D'Alberto Racing (Holden):
Tony D'Alberto will remain in the seat of the single car team, although it will switch from Ford to Holden, running a customer Commodore with support from Walkinshaw Racing.
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport (Holden):
Taz Douglas reportedly has a deal with the team to stay on for a second season in 2013, however he is under pressure from Scott Pye – the Triple Eight-backed driver who the team is eager to slot into its customer team. Should the team expand to two cars with the Fiore or Morris REC, room could be made for Pye, although Morris would likely run Owen.
2013 Championship Calendar
2013 Championship Points