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Supercars Bathurst II

Supercheap open to Lowndes Bathurst wildcard

Supercheap Auto is open to the possibility of backing a Bathurst 1000 wildcard entry led by Craig Lowndes in 2022.

Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden Commodore

The automotive parts and accessories retailer is backing a Triple Eight-run wildcard for veteran Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney at this year's Great Race.

The wildcard concept was conceived as a response to Supercheap losing the naming rights backing of the Bathurst 1000 to retail rival Repco.

Regardless of how the Ingall/Feeney entry fares this weekend, that exact line-up can't be revived for a second Bathurst appearance next year.

That's because Feeney will step into the #88 entry currently raced by Jamie Whincup for the 2022 Supercars season.

However a byproduct of Feeney's promotion and Whincup's retirement from full-time racing is that current T8 endurance driver Lowndes could be shuffled out of the Red Bull Ampol line-up.

That would happen if Whincup decides to move into a co-driving role himself, something he has indicated he is likely to do.

Whincup also says T8 will work on a wildcard entry to keep Lowndes on the Great Race grid.

According to Supercheap Auto managing director Benjamin Ward, a Lowndes-led wildcard is something the company would be open to backing.

But Ward also wants to hear suggestions from fans as to who could replace Feeney in a potential continuation of the wildcard programme.

"Obviously we lose Broc to Jamie's seat next year and let's see how Russell feels when he gets out of the car on Sunday night," Ward told Motorsport.com.

"Maybe the fans should jump on our Facebook page and let us know who they want to see drive for us next year and we'll see what we can come up with.

"I have heard the five into four [Triple Eight] drivers equation being bandied around. I think that the success [of the wildcard] has been driven by the fans and we're open to anything.

"Russell has been a fantastic ambassador for us, Broc has been a fantastic ambassador for us... I'd love to know what the fans think. Who do the fans think should jump into the seat?

"We've got options if we decide to run with the programme next year."

Ward added that this year's wildcard concept has already been a success for the brand based on pre-Bathurst publicity and fan reaction.

"The fans have loved it," he said.

"It's a great news story and if we can get ourselves a win it's the oldest/youngest driver combination.

"It's great to see Russell come out of retirement and Broc, what an absolute champion.

"The fans have really got behind it. Our whole team has got behind it. It's been fantastic, I just hope we get the coverage we deserve during the race."

Feeney was 17th fastest in the opening practice session earlier today, just eight-tenths off the pace set by Cam Waters.

In the dedicated co-driver session Ingall was slowest of the 25 entries, the margin to pacesetter Lee Holdsworth a little over three seconds.

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