CODY McKay made his Newcastle 500 debut in 2019.
McKay, along with the Supercars event itself, returns to the street circuit in 2023 but this time around he's got company.
The Merewether 34-year-old will be joined on the support-class grid by fellow Novocastrian driver Shaun Martin as part of his expanded Aussie Racing Car team.
"When we first went into that Newcastle round  we were full of nerves and anxiety and all that type of stuff, which anyone would be going for their first big hit out," McKay said.
"And Newcastle definitely wasn't a track for beginners in that series [Aussie Racing Cars]. What we've taken away from doing everything else [between 2020 and 2022], we just go into everything with hard confidence.
"When we had a little car and that was all that we could afford and that was all we could do, we're now running a two-car operation with plenty of spares and staff and people to help us out.
"Since that time [over three years ago] we've really exploded on the other side and what we're able to bring to the table ... a lot more professionalism.
"We've got good game plans now whereas, in our early years, our goal was just to survive. Now our goal is to win. We can analyse what's going down and really challenge for those top results."
McKay, who finished top-10 overall in last year's Aussie Racing Cars series, says he "jumped for the sky" when Newcastle was named to open a six-round season.
His recent vehicle upgrade means Martin takes over McKay's older model for the hometown program.
"He [Martin] is actually the guy who designed the virtual reality simulator for the Newcastle track that most of the professional teams use," McKay said.
"So he's someone who might not bring a wealth of race experience, but after testing we found out he's not a bad driver at all. He'll be there to keep his nose clean and get the experience more than anything else."
McKay and Charlotte Poynting, who hails from Warners Bay, have previously driven in the Aussie Racing Car category while Martin and Elermore Vale's Michael Sherwell are both first timers.
Practice sessions are scheduled for Friday, qualifying and race one on Saturday before two more races on Sunday.
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