Grosjean harbours Bathurst ambition

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 09/06/2022
  • By James Pavey

Romain Grosjean has become the latest open-wheel ace to harbour ambitions of a future Bathurst start.

Former Formula 1 driver Grosjean is currently racing for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar.

The Frenchman is an on-track rival of three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin.

Grosjean and McLaughlin first met in 2013, the year a teenage McLaughlin debuted in Supercars full-time.

Grosjean first knew of McLaughlin through countryman and friend Alex Premat.

Premat was McLaughlin’s Garry Rogers Motorsport teammate in 2013, and later co-driver.

In a one-on-one video, Grosjean and McLaughlin talked all things Supercars and IndyCar.

“I need to do that one,” Grosjean said of Bathurst.

“Bathurst and Surfers Paradise.”

Premat combined with McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske to win the 2019 Great Race.

He became the first French driver to win the Bathurst 1000.

Premat is one of just three French drivers, along with Sebastien Bourdais and Yvan Muller, to have won a Supercars race.

Bourdais was the class of the international field during the overseas driver format on the Gold Coast between 2010 and 2012.

The four-time Champ Car champion won races alongside Jamie Whincup in 2011 and 2012.

Premat won the 2019 Great Race with McLaughlin

Grosjean expanded on how he first heard of McLaughlin: "When you got to V8 Supercars, I was really good friends with Alex Premat.

“When you were at GRM, you started kicking his butt.

“I was like, ‘Who is that guy?’”

Grosjean’s IndyCar squad is aligned with Walkinshaw Andretti United, which ran a Bathurst wildcard in 2019.

IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi formed one half of that wildcard line-up, and also recently opened up on his “amazing” Bathurst experience.

“We got our butts kicked, plain and simple. I loved the experience, I think that race is amazing,” Rossi told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“Supercars are awesome. Michael [Andretti] asked if I would go back and do it again, and it was a hard no unless I get to do the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Rossi (R) and James Hinchcliffe in 2019

“I would only consider going back if I got to back in a GT3 car do learn the track, get confidence on where to find lap time.

“To learn both of those things on a weekend, and qualify in the rain, it was a big learning curve.”

The Grosjean comments come after quotes from Sebastian Vettel surfaced regarding his ambition to “experience” Bathurst.

Vettel was quoted at the Australian Grand Prix weekend as preferring Mount Panorama over the new F1 Las Vegas track.

"I'd rather go to Bathurst,” four-time F1 champion Vettel said.

"[We could] take the cash we'll take to Vegas and invest it in great tracks that already exist.

"That would be a real challenge. I think that track is a monster.

Alonso drove Randle's Ford at Albert Park

"I've never been but, one day, I hope to go and experience it.”

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso sampled Thomas Randle’s Tickford Mustang at Albert Park.

There, Alonso admitted he doesn’t have time for other racing commitments, but didn’t rule out a future Bathurst start.

"Who knows, there are a couple of amazing races here, Bathurst being the most popular one,” Alonso said.

"It’s not in the short-term plan, but you never say never.”

This year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 will be held on October 6-9.

Rossi, McLaughlin and Grosjean are seventh, 10th and 14th respectively in the IndyCar standings.

The 2022 season will resume in Darwin on June 17-19. Purchase your tickets now.

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