The Triple Eight Racing stable has been awarded a third Racing Entitlements Contract for the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship season.

The news paves the way for the to retain its existing pairing of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes next year, alongside the recently-signed Shane van Gisbergen, who will join the team in the off-season from the TEKNO Autosports stable. Were the team unsuccessful in its application, the off-contract Lowndes would have been most likely to be given the chop.

“It’s not often you get the opportunity to employ three of the absolute best drivers in the category,” Triple Eight team manager Roland Dane said.

“[That’s] including one driver [Lowndes] who has been with us longer than anyone and we would like to continue that relationship, while we also build for the future… at the same time we want to make sure we have a long term policy of going for the next generation. So we wouldn’t have done it if Jamie, Gizzy and Craig weren’t all available and happy to drive for Triple Eight.”

V8 Supercars announced the tendering of a 26th REC earlier this year as the series looks to bolster its grid sizes above its current 25-car field, the smallest in the series’ history since its rebranding in the late 1990s.

Image via TEKNO

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Christian Hartung