Stanaway: from racing wilderness to wildcard

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 08/06/2021
  • By Charlie Bullis

Richie Stanaway will make his return to Supercars as a wildcard entry in this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000, co-driving with countryman Greg Murphy.

Stanaway, 29, will team up with 48-year-old Murphy in a Boost Mobile-backed Erebus Motorsport Commodore.

October's race will be Murphy's 23rd Bathurst start, and fifth for Stanaway, who retired in 2019.

After his final full-time main game event in Newcastle in November 2019, Stanway announced he was quitting via a post to his Instagram account.

WATCH: MURPHY AND STANAWAY RETURN FOR THE GREAT RACE

“After 23 years of strapping the helmet on I feel like it’s time to finally call it a day,” he wrote on social media, just hours after finishing 15th in the 250km finale.

“I never would have predicted my racing career to be so short and it’s not a decision that I’ve taken lightly but it is what it is.

“I got further than I could have ever imagined I would and I can’t thank everyone enough that has been a part of the journey. Time to start a new chapter.”

Two years on, Stanaway has overturned his decision, and is set to return to the venue where he finished 12th on debut alongside Chris Pither.

Stanaway boasted an enviable record when he returned to Australia; he was German Formula 3 champion in 2011 before he suffered a back injury in 2012.

He overcame the injury and recorded race wins in the GP3 and GP2 Series, the latter now known as Formula 2, in 2015.

Stanaway also drove with Aston Martin from 2013 to 2017 in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

He returned to Australia in 2016, and performed strongly in a pair of PIRTEK Enduro Cups, winning the Sandown 500 alongside Cameron Waters in 2017.

Waters and Stanaway scored pole and victory at Sandown in 2017

His first full-time opportunity came with Tickford Racing for the 2018 season.

It was a difficult rookie season for Stanaway, finishing 25th in the standings with four retirements throughout the year.

He ended his contract with Tickford a year earlier than expected, and joined Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2019, where he recorded a career-best solo finish of ninth at the Auckland SuperSprint.

He also missed three events due to injury and was benched for the Gold Coast round for skipping an autograph session, before returning for Sandown and Newcastle.

Reportedly ‘on the fence’ about return as a co-driver for the 2020 season, he cited being a polarising figure in the Supercars paddock and among fans on social media, being part of his decision to step away.

Speaking to Supercars.com at the time of his retirement, he said: “I’ve already exceeded my wildest dreams.

Stanaway's final main game start in 2019

“I remember going to Bathurst as a kid, just a fan, and ended up racing there.

“Being a full-time Supercars driver is a million miles ahead of where I ever dreamed I could have achieved.

“In some ways it’s exceeded my expectations, but then it’s hard not to be a little bit disappointed with not having quite the luck or the politics go my way to put me in the incubator that I need to reach my full potential.”

Stanaway and Murphy will join the Supercars field for the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 7-10. Tickets are available here.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to the Northern Territory for the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown across June 18-20. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo, and will be broadcast live and free on Seven.

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