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Teams split on controversial Supercars entry rules

Team opinion seems split on the controversial entry criteria for new Supercars drivers.

Chaz Mostert, Walkinshaw Andretti United Ford Mustang GT

The pathway for young drivers to Supercars is in the spotlight this week after Motorsport Australia announced the impending abolishment of the superlicence system.

That will spell the end of the points system required to be able to compete in Supercars and will create a strict divide between limitations set by the governing body, and those set by the series itself.

Under the existing superlicence rules, young drivers are effectively required to complete a full season in Super2 before being able to race in Supercars.

That rule has been driven by Supercars itself and may well remain in the place once the superlicence is abolished.

While Supercars has long argued that the rule is about integrity and safety, some see it as an unfair form of protection for the second-tier – and too restrictive for those can't afford to race in Super2.

When asked by Motorsport.com whether the rules are fair or not, three team bosses offered a range of opinions.

Dick Johnson Racing team principal Ben Croke said a recent tweak that lowers the requirement to three Super2 starts for drivers that have finished in the top three in Super3 or Carrera Cup is a good compromise.

"I like the fact that we have this pathway," said Croke.

"Supercars is our product and all of the teams are well-invested in it. So to have the pathway system where you need to have done some Super3 or Super2 to be able to hop in these cars, I really like that.

"But it probably was too strict. What it has loosened up to now is probably okay."

Grove Racing owner Stephen Grove, meanwhile, is firmly against the entry criteria.

He has faced the hurdle first-hand having needed to run Matt Payne in Super2 in 2022 before promoting him to Supercars this season.

Grove also has deep connections in the Porsche world through his own racing programme and has history when it comes to plucking talent out of the Porsche system.

Grove Racing fielded Matt Campbell at Bathurst last year and has signed Kevin Estre for the enduros this season.

"I don't like the system," he said. "We had it first-hand with Matt where we had to run him in Super2.

"I think some of the overseas racing and Porsche racing is underestimated. You look at the guys who have gone through Supercup, they are the best GT racers in the world. And I would hate to see us limit getting those sort of people.

"I think it's important that we bring youth through and I think they need to work out which is the right pathway for them. Or else we won't get youth coming through, they'll go overseas.

"I think the[abolishment of the superlicence] hasn't really changed anything at this stage because you've still got to abide by the original rules, Motorsport Australia has just distanced itself from that. And we had a lot of discussions with Motorsport Australia over Matt Payne and they were concerned about the process and trying to distant themselves.

"It's up to Supercars now to see what they do."

Triple Eight managing director Jamie Whincup sat on the fence, although conceded that forcing drivers through Super2 wasn't entirely necessary.

"I agree with both of these guys, actually," he said.

"We need a system in place, you can't just throw anybody out there at any stage. We need a licensing system.

"Was it too strict? Potentially.

"You don't necessarily have to do Super2 or Super3, especially now with Gen3, the cars are changing again.

"There's high quality categories all over the world. Somebody needs to rank the quality of that system and have a numbering system or a points system and if you're eligible, you're eligible.

"I think we've made an improvement. Can it better? For sure, we'll keep moving forward."

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