Stanaway preparing for full-time Supercars debut
Richie Stanaway says he's preparing to make his full-time Supercars debut at next year's Adelaide 500.
The New Zealander is poised to be announced as a Prodrive Racing Australia driver for next season, with a seat alongside Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert, and Cam Waters.
The deal is likely to be part of a convoluted shake-up that involves PRA, LD Motorsport, and driver/Racing Entitlements Contract owner Jason Bright.
It will effectively see Stanaway join PRA in a new fourth entry with a LDM REC, with LDM then shrinking to a one-car entry running PRA hardware.
Bright will be forced to shift his REC out of PRA, paddock chatter suggesting Matt Stone Racing is the likely home, paving the way for Super2 star Todd Hazelwood to step up to the main game.
While needing to stay tight-lipped on the details of his 2018 programme, Stanaway – who has been on the hunt for a full-time Supercars deal since mid-last year – heavily hinted that an announcement is imminent, and that he's getting ready to be in a car full-time from Adelaide next year.
"It’s not a question of 'if', it’s 'when' we can make an announcement,' he told journalists at Pukekohe yesterday.
"Obviously I can’t say anything now, but I can definitely start thinking about Clipsal and I’m just really looking forward to it.
"So yeah, hopefully we’ll have some news for you guys pretty soon."
Stanaway has enjoyed a high-flying start to his Supercars career, his two-year co-driver stint with PRA yielding a Sandown 500 win alongside Cam Waters.
He's also tasted success in Super2, winning on debut in the second-tier series at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier this season.
Since then, he says he's been focussed on a full-time main game deal.
"Things have progressed a lot of over the last few months," he said.
"Back at Sydney Motorsport Park when I was racing Super2 there I literally had no idea whether I was just going to be a co-driver again next year or whether or not there was going to be any opportunities.
"I kind of achieved the objectives that I set for myself in the enduros which was having good pace and not making mistakes.
"Then, out of that it's getting what looks like an opportunity for next year full-time."
Stanaway, who effectively walked away from a World Endurance Championship programme with Aston Martin to chase his Supercars dream, added that the imminent deal makes his decision to return Down Under worthwhile.
"It was a bit of a risk kind of giving that all away for only the possibility of running here full-time," he said. "And it would have been a bit awkward I guess if I was in as a co-driver in the long run.
"I guess it’s justifying the decision that I made to come here, because it was so good to me the last two years.
"This year in particular having not raced in Europe after Le Mans, because that meant that I didn’t have anything else on my mind other than full focus on Supercars. And living here in Auckland has been easy for me to commute back and forth to Australia rather than having to do any long haul flights or anything in between the enduros.
"I haven’t driven anything other than a Supercar since Le Mans, so it’s definitely been good for me I think."
McLaughlin says title contention 'a dream come true'
Australian GP closing in on Supercars race format
About this article
|Author||Andrew van Leeuwen|