Supercars rookie Todd Hazelwood will switch from a Ford Falcon to a Holden Commodore for the rest of the season, in a deal that next year will see him race a Triple Eight-prepared Commodore ZB.
Hazelwood’s team, Matt Stone Racing, had originally planned to upgrade from its ex-DJR Team Penske Falcon to a new Ford Mustang for 2019.
Instead, MSR has done a deal with Triple Eight in which the Holden team will supply a Commodore Supercars race machine along with assistance.
The team cites the lack of supporting customer assistance from DJR Team Penske as the reason for the switch.
Team owner Matt Stone said securing technical assistance from one of the major multi-car teams was crucial for his small, one-car operation.
“We were interested in the Mustang project,” Stone told Supercars.com, “but learning the main game this season, we’ve realised that as a first-year team with a rookie driver, we really need the support of an established team through a technical alliance.
“Obviously we’ve been doing it on our own this year and struggling with the Ford that we didn’t particularly understand.
“We’ve had a history with Triple Eight in terms of technical partnership through Super2, so we began the conversations as to what next year would look like and we couldn’t really get support to do a Mustang.
“If we go to a ZB with Triple Eight, then we can jump on a support program, which Penske can’t offer.”
Hazelwood, currently placed last of the full-time drivers in the Supercars championship points table, was last year’s Dunlop Super2 Series winner aboard an MSR Commodore VF sourced from Triple Eight.
It’s this car he’ll drive for the remainder of the season, making Hazelwood the only driver in the field to still be running the older VF-model Commodore.
"I believe this new direction will help us move forward as a team, this was no overnight decision and I feel very confident with the changes put in place," Hazelwood said.
"I am fortunate that I have very smart and successful people in my corner who were able to help analyse the best direction for the team.”
Hazelwood will make his first championship start in the MSR Commodore VF at the new Tailem Bend circuit on August 25-26.