[an error occurred while processing this directive]Russell Ingall better look out. There's a new kid on the Castrol block and, with all due respect to Larry Perkins, the intra-team rivalry at Perkins Motorsport will be fiercer than ever before.
With new signing, the exceptionally talented Steven Richards, breathing down his neck, the most frustrated of bridesmaids will have all the motivation he needs to finally snare a painfully elusive series championship.
He has the unenviable record of holding the most runner-up trophies without having his name on the championship honour roll and is, perhaps, the best current driver yet to win the major prize. It's a void he's desperate to fill.
Last year, he was a reluctant vice-champion to Mark Skaife. It was a brave fight, but never was the pressure on Skaife so great, and so unrelenting, that Ingall had a serious shot at dethroning him.
'The Enforcer' remains a ruthless, uncompromising antagonist, with an insatiable hunger for championship glory. But he quickly learned, after a wayward 2000 season, that consistency, not hostility, was the key to success. A similar formula will be applied this year.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]Steven Richards is a star signing. It will be the racing nomad's third team in as many years, but in Perkins' 'no frills' garage the son of Touring Car legend Jim Richards may have finally found an appreciate home.
Richards' unremarkable one-season stint with Ford Tickford Racing last year ended in amicable divorce.
He was to become one of the Blue Oval's most potent weapons, inspiring the underachieving Ford Tickford outfit into action. And he did, to an extent. But the general performance of Ford's flagship team was decidedly uninspiring.
Few predicted Richards would so quickly and emphatically step out from under his father's imposing shadow and make a name for himself as one of the country's quickest.
A driver whose manufacturer allegiances run only skin-deep, he's won races aboard both makes - the only driver to win Bathurst in a Falcon and a Commodore. Holden-powered this year, Richards will be hoping third time's a charm.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]Meanwhile, the boss must play third-string to his younger chargers this season, but Larry Perkins insists he's not here to make up the numbers.
At 51, it's difficult to see where the motivation comes from. In a career spanning 30 years, one that's included everything from Bathurst to Le Mans to Formula One, there isn't much left to achieve for Holden's shrewd elder statesman. But the hunger is still evident - and the ability evergreen.
He's the working class hero of Australian motorsport: the boy from country Victoria who made good on the world stage.
But it was here in Australia where he earned icon status. He's won Bathurst six times, mostly in self-built cars. The national championship has eluded him, but with a record like his it hardly seems to matter.