Photo: Tickford

Tickford Racing firms up Bathurst pairings

Tickford Racing has confirmed how it will line up for the Bathurst 1000 after Alex Prémat was forced to withdraw from the event.

The Frenchman had planned to return to Australian soil for the season finale but will be unable to do so as a result of COVID travel restrictions, with Zak Best – who drives for Tickford Racing in Super2 – getting the call up in his place.

Best will partner Jack Le Brocq at Bathurst with previously announced co-drivers James Moffat and Thomas Randle racing with Cam Waters and James Courtney respectively.

“I’m obviously really excited to be stepping up to make my main game debut at Bathurst with Jack,” Best said. “I’m still sort of pinching myself realising I’m going to race in the Bathurst 1000.

“We’ve had a pretty strong year in Super2 so far and I’m feeling really comfortable in the team, and I’m really thankful to the team for seeing that and giving me the opportunity. It’ll be a big week racing both in Super2 and the ‘1000,’ but I can’t wait for it.”

Prémat himself said he was keen to return to the race as soon as travel restrictions allow.

“I was really looking forward to coming back to Bathurst this year, so I am sad to say I won’t be making the trip to race with Tickford in 2021,” he said.

“Unfortunately between commitments I have in the US and difficulties with travelling into Australia we couldn’t put things together and make it work, which is a shame, but I’ll be cheering on the team from home and hopefully next year I can finally come back to Bathurst!”

With the line-up now fully confirmed, team CEO and principal Tim Edwards said he was confident that Tickford could impress as it bids for another Bathurst success.

“It’s of course very disappointing that we’ve had to park Alex again this year,” he said. “We only came to that decision recently, and even with the prospect of changes to international travel into New South Wales, organising flights is very challenging, so we’ve decided to remain committed to the path and give Zak the opportunity to step up into that seat.

“He’s done an excellent job for us in Super2 and obviously knows the team and the cars pretty well so he’s certainly earned the opportunity, and we think he’ll do a great job for us.

“Having Moff and Randle is really positive as well. Moff is incredibly quick at Bathurst and has obviously driven for us for several years now, then Thomas is of course on his way to a full-time seat and has been very strong this year himself, so we’re very happy with our driver pairings and the teams we’ve put together for Bathurst.

“I’ve said it before, these days at Bathurst you need drivers who are both fast and reliable, and I think all three of our cars are very well balanced for this year’s race.”