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Supercars Bathurst

Stanaway disappointed to miss out on Triple Eight drive

Richie Stanaway admits he was disappointed to not land a full-time Triple Eight drive for the 2024 Supercars season, although now sees a bright future with Grove Racing.

Shane van Gisbergen, Richie Stanaway, Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The Kiwi, and freshly-crowned Bathurst 1000 champion, is set for a second full-time stint in Supercars as of next season thanks to a somewhat shock deal with Grove Racing.

He'll join the Grove Racing line-up alongside fellow Kiwi Matt Payne, a deal that came together shortly after Triple Eight decided to take Will Brown as NASCAR-bound Shane van Gisbergen's replacement.

Stanaway was known to be in contention for the T8 drive given he was paired with van Gisbergen for the endurance races this year, but, obviously, missed out.

Reflecting on how the silly season played out, Stanaway says that, while understanding of T8's decision, he is disappointed he didn't get the nod for a full-time role.

At the same time he is committed and excited to help the ambitious Grove Racing outfit continue its transformation into a powerhouse team.

"Timing wise, it was all within the same week," Stanaway told Motorsport.com of the sliding doors moment.

"I tried to push to get Shane's seat. But I sort of understand the idea behind picking a current driver that's younger and was leading the championship heading into the round where the driver market opened up.

"But it is a little disappointing not to have got the seat. I would have loved to have stayed here, especially after our performance [at Bathurst].

"But at the end of the day I've got faith in the Groves that they can make their way forward. So I'm more than happy to start working there and I believe we can get back to the front."

Stanaway wasn't the only person hoping he got the T8 seat, van Gisbergen himself admitting that he had his fingers crossed for his countryman.

“To get him back in the sport and seeing how he is this year, his mentality and drive, focus, determination on and off the track, it’s been really cool to work with him," van Gisbergen said of Stanaway.

“In some ways I wish he was replacing me in that car. I know they’ve got a capable driver replacing [me], but I was secretly hoping Richie would get the drive.

“But he’s in a good team. Groves has got some great people and I’m sure he’ll do well next year if that environment is what it looks like.”

Van Gisbergen did say around the time of his exit negotiations that finding a suitable replacement was critical to his NASCAR switch going out.

However, he stopped short of confirming he actively campaigned for Stanaway when asked about it by Motorsport.com.

“I didn’t have too much input, to be honest," he said.

“At that point in time, I just wanted to make sure, before I committed to the USA, that they were happy with what they had.

“Richie was obviously on the shortlist, but [T8 managing director] Jamie [Whincup] didn’t involve me too much with the main discussions about it.”

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