Newly-crowned Dunlop Super2 Champion Todd Hazelwood and Matt Stone Racing will graduate to the top-tier Supercars Championship grid in 2018.
The Queensland privateer team will make its full-time series debut after securing the use of the Racing Entitlements Contract (REC) owned by the retiring Jason Bright. The outfit had run Hazelwood in a pair of wildcard outings in 2017 in its Holden VF Commodore, but will now switch to a Ford Falcon previously run by the DJR Team Penske team and acquired by South Australian businessman James Rosenberg.
Twenty-two-year-old Hazelwood enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Supercars’ feeder championship, claiming the Drivers’ Championship title in the season finale at Newcastle. The youngster also earned a Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver seat alongside Tim Blanchard at Brad Jones Racing.
“I am very proud to be joining the other 25 drivers in the 2018 Supercars Championship,” he said of his graduation to the top flight.
“After such an incredible 2017 season, there is no better time to make this transition and start an exciting new chapter of my career. I am more than ready for this and I’m so fortunate that we have been able to achieve this deal.”
Team owner Matt Stone, the son of former Stone Brothers Racing co-founder Jimmy Stone, was equally excited about his outfit joining the main game.
“Speaking on behalf of the whole team, we cannot wait for a huge 2018 season,” he added.
“The success we achieved with Todd and the team in 2017 demonstrates we are more than ready to make this exciting transition.
“The Matt Stone Racing team have tasted success in each category we have competed in and it is very special to see our team on the main series grid next year. We are prepared and have the key ingredients to be successful when we arrive in Adelaide in 2018.”
Hazelwood’s confirmation leaves just four seats still be confirmed on next year’s grid. Prodrive Racing, TEKNO Autosports, Nissan Motorsport and the rebranded 23Red Racing are yet to confirm their line-ups.
TEKNO driver Will Davison is widely expected to switch to 23Red, the outfit formerly known as Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport which will downsize to a single-car entry in the off-season. 23Red’s second REC has been purchased by Prodrive Racing to allow it to run Richie Stanaway full-time.
Davison’s seat is expected to be snapped up by Super2 driver Jack Le Brocq, while Andre Heimgartner is expected to make his full-time Supercars return at Nissan Motorsport in place of the retiring Todd Kelly.
Images via LAT Images