Co-driver Richie Stanaway declared himself a likely full-time starter in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship next season after helping Cameron Waters to pole at Sandown.
The 25-year-old Kiwi’s future has been the subject of increasing speculation in recent months after publicly stating he won’t return to Europe in 2018.
Having impressed on his Supercars debut in last year’s PIRTEK Enduro Cup with Prodrive, Stanaway’s stocks rose further when he won a race on debut in the Dunlop Super2 Series last month.
His strong form continued today as he rose from sixth on the grid to finish third in the co-driver sprint race, before Waters took the win in the second to secure pole.
Although Stanaway has been open about his desire to move into the main series next year, he’s no longer downplaying the prospect of an opportunity arising.
“I’d say there’s a pretty good chance. It’s just a matter of time, waiting to see what materialises,” he said of the chances of stepping up.
“I’m pretty confident of getting a seat next year, but I can’t really say much more than that.”
Following Stanaway’s comments, Prodrive boss Tim Edwards reaffirmed to Supercars.com that the team has an ongoing contract with the Kiwi for 2018.
With Jason Bright adamant that he will continue in the team’s fourth entry next year, there doesn’t appear to be room in its main line-up for a newcomer.
This week’s news that Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport is in talks to secure a customer alliance with Prodrive, however, may create an opportunity for Stanaway.
Edwards confirmed that discussions with LDM about a tie-up have taken place but would not elaborate further on the potential involvement of Stanaway.
“They’ve spoken to us but I believe they’ve also spoken to other people as well,” Edwards told Supercars.com of LDM.
“We’ve sold cars and engineering support to many teams over the last decade. It’s something that we’ve always done.
“We’ve had a conversation, that’s all that’s taken place, but whether that leads to something, time will tell.”
Waters, who recently extended his own contract with Prodrive, believes Stanaway would be competitive in the main series next year but is hopeful of retaining him as co-driver.
“He’s stepped in and been competitive straight away, which is good,” Waters told Supercars.com.
“There’s no doubt he can do it, he drives really well and is obviously quick. I think he deserves a spot.
“I hope he doesn’t [move up] so that he can be my co-driver again next year, but it is what it is.”