Both are fielding a wildcard entry in this year's Great Race, as is the aim of the usually single-car Blanchard Racing Team, and hence Supercars' two homologation teams will be paired up in the lane at Mount Panorama.
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However, it is still rather remarkable that the two preeminent teams of the era, who have fought each other for championship titles as spearheads of opposite sides of the Ford-General Motors divide, will not only be adjacently located at one end of pit lane but are likely to work as a combined crew at the other, in Supercars' biggest race.
As is the case for third cars in full-time three-car operations, wildcard entries are classified as single-car ‘teams' for the purposes of championship standings and personnel limits.
With a cap of 11 performance personnel per single-car team for endurance events, and eight allowed to perform service in a pit stop, it tends to be the case that the eight is a mixture from both teams, as was the case for Triple Eight and Erebus last year.
Asked by Speedcafe about the 2023 wildcard arrangement, Croke explained, “That's a work in progress.
“Mark Dutton [Triple Eight Team Manager] and myself have had some conversations already about how it's going to work out.
“Their guys are obviously doing Sandown so how we integrate and mix, that is still a lot of work in progress.
“But, we've been positioned next to each other [for] probably the best part of seven or eight years now and we've worked together in pit lane amazingly well despite being the fiercest of rivals throughout that time and competing head-to-head.
“The working relationship still remains and I have no doubt that both teams will be professional and go about it in the right way.
“We certainly will be and I hold no feelings that Triple Eight will be the opposite.”
As Croke noted, the Shell V-Power Racing Team's wildcard, to be driven by Simona De Silvestro and Kai Allen, will appear at just the Repco Bathurst 1000 whereas Triple Eight's Supercheap Auto Camaro has already raced in the hands of Zane Goddard at Hidden Valley and will next be in action when he is joined by Craig Lowndes at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
According to DJR CEO David Noble, the decision to focus on the Great Race only was largely down to timing.
“Probably more scheduling, I reckon,” he said.
“We made the decision late and we had great appetite and buy-in from our partners [but] it was probably just a bridge too far to get to Sandown.
“It was more just a scheduling and a timing issue. We hadn't really gone to the market for drivers, either, so we were a little bit behind in that timing phase.”
“The timing of the Superlicence change was also a big factor in sort of not being able to schedule Sandown in that as well,” added Croke.
The Sandown 500 takes place on September 15-17 and the Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8, while track activity at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight starts today with support categories.