Triple Eight Race Engineering and Supercheap Auto have officially launched their third consecutive Supercars Championship wildcard, in front of a packed crowd of fans at Maritime Green Northshore in Brisbane.
The team’s brand new Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro LTZ, featuring the synonymous #888 and donning the major backer’s iconic red and yellow corporate colours, was revealed to the public at a large fan-oriented event, which included driver appearances, entertainment, and fireworks. Wildcard drivers Zane Goddard and Craig Lowndes were on hand to pull back the covers of the striking test day livery, revealing the wildcard for the first time.
Supercheap Auto’s ‘Make It Super’ tagline features prominently across the team’s wildcard entry livery, and features support from Chevrolet Racing and Supercheap Auto’s trade partners: ACDelco, Century Batteries, Bendix, Bosch, Sony, Sperling, TurtleWax and ToolPRO X.
In conjunction with the #888 wildcard racing at the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000, the team also announced that Goddard will be making his long-awaited solo return to the Supercars Championship with a standalone wildcard entry at the upcoming Darwin Triple Crown. His entry into the event will see Goddard return to the series as a primary driver for the first time since 2021.
The team’s wildcard entry will see former Triple Eight race-winning engineer, Wes McDougal return to the helm as race engineer for the #888 Chevrolet Camaro. McDougal was race engineer to seven-time Supercars Champion, Jamie Whincup in his final full-time season of Supercars in 2021, and has previously worked with Goddard at Matt Stone Racing.
Since the commencement of Triple Eight’s Supercheap Auto-backed wildcard program in 2020, the team has seen two emerging stars of the sport in Broc Feeney and Declan Fraser graduate to the Supercars Championship in a full-time capacity. The wildcard entry at last year’s Bathurst 1000 piloted by Lowndes and Fraser had a standout result, finishing eighth – the highest placing ever for a wildcard entry at the ‘Great Race.’
The Supercheap Auto Racing wildcard will make its on-track debut on 1 June at the team’s first official test day of 2023 at Queensland Raceway. The team will also launch an Indigenous-themed livery prior to the Darwin Triple Crown on 16-18 June, as well as an enduro season livery prior to the Sandown 500 on 15-17 September.
Zane Goddard – Driver Car #888
“It’s awesome to have so many fans come out to our wildcard launch to see the car that Lowndesy and I will race for the first time. Red cars always look fast, and this is no exception. In Supercars, I’ve never had a brand-new car to race, so that’s a really cool experience. Usually, the cars I’ve had in the past have been hand-me-downs from Jamie and Shane (van Gisbergen), but to have a brand-new car is a cool opportunity. There’s going to be certain things to learn from a new car once we shake it down, but those are the experiences I’m really looking forward to. The car looks awesome with all the Supercheap Auto branding, and the crew back at Triple Eight have done a super job building it.
“It’s also a great opportunity for me to have a standalone wildcard entry in Darwin and get some laps under my belt before the enduro season, and I can’t thank Supercheap Auto and Triple Eight enough. I’ve obviously raced full-time before, but to also have a chance in the car to show what I can do is really cool. Darwin is always an amazing event, so I’m going to embrace the whole race meeting and hopefully we can get some good results. The guys and girls at Triple Eight have been putting in a lot of work behind the scenes to get the car ready, so hopefully we can repay them with a good result and take as much away from it as we can.
“It’s going to be cool to work with Wes again. I’ve worked with him at past teams, and it’s a bit surreal how it goes full circle and we’re now working together at Triple Eight. Knowing the way he works and having that prior knowledge cuts out a lot of the teething phase of growing that relationship – he understands what I like and I understand what he means when he says certain phrases which definitely helps. He’s an extremely talented, race-winning engineer who has worked at Triple Eight before and it’s great to see him back in the Supercars paddock. Hopefully Craig, Wes and myself can work well together and set up the optimal car every time it goes out on track.”
Craig Lowndes – Car #888 Co-driver
“Supercheap Auto have an amazing way of bringing the fans closer to our sport, and they have really outdone themselves at our 2023 wildcard launch. The crowd and the atmosphere here have really ignited my excitement to hit the ground running.
“Teaming up with Zane, I’m excited to make this year’s wildcard program bigger and more super. I’ve worked with Zane over the last couple of years throughout the early stages of Supercars’ Gen3 development, and I’m excited to finally share this beast of a car with him when we have our first test day at the start of June.
“It’s fantastic that Zane will be racing in Darwin, and I congratulate Supercheap Auto and Triple Eight for making that happen. Any laps in these new cars are invaluable, and hopefully he gets more comfortable with the car and the team before enduro season really kicks off later in the year. As I’ve mentioned before, Zane’s a fantastic young kid with great speed and a great head on his shoulders, and his return to the main game is truly deserved.
“Now that we’ve launched our Supercheap Auto wildcard, my focus is to work closely with Zane at our upcoming test days, ensuring we’re both comfortable in the car, and familiarising ourselves with our team of engineers and mechanics. Sandown can’t come quick enough!”
Jamie Whincup – Team Principal
“Firstly, I must thank the amazing team at Supercheap Auto for continuing to invest in this hugely successful program. They’ve been such super partners of ours since 2021 and I’m honoured that they’ve shown confidence in our team to represent their iconic brand at three huge events this year. Their commitment to the younger generation of budding Supercars drivers is unrivalled, which has seen the likes of Broc and Declan graduate to the main game with their support of this program.
“I’m thrilled that Zane will get a standalone event in Darwin for him to get comfortable in these Gen3 cars, and it’s a great opportunity for our engineers and mechanics to gel as a team before an intense enduro season later in the year. I think continuing with another unique combination of youth and experience with Zane and Craig at Sandown and Bathurst will prove to be a competitive pairing.
“With the support and dedication of our 60-plus staff, I can assure you all three Triple Eight cars we take to each of these events will have nothing but equal opportunity to deliver a result.”
Benjamin Ward – Managing Director, Supercheap Auto
“We’re super proud to finally reveal the Supercheap Auto Camaro supercar and announce our wildcard plans for this year with Lowndesy and Goddard.
“Expanding the program to three events is exciting for all of us at Supercheap Auto, with Darwin and Sandown providing excellent preparation for Bathurst in October.
“Massive kudos to Triple Eight Race Engineering for all the hard work to build this new Camaro during the season.
“Thank you to all the fans for the support, we can’t wait to hit the track soon in the #888 Supercheap Auto supercar with Lowndesy and Goddard.”