Richie Stanaway cut laps in new Ford for first time
Bathurst winner tested new Penrite Mustang this week
Kiwi needed just five laps to "familiarise" with new car
Just five laps was all it took for Richie Stanaway to familiarise himself with his new Penrite Racing Ford Mustang ahead of the Kiwi’s full-time comeback to Supercars.
The 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000 winner took to his brand-new #26 Penrite Ford at Winton Motor Raceway this week for a shakedown and full test day.
After logging 60 kilometres’ worth of laps at Wednesday’s shakedown, Stanaway returned on Thursday with teammate Matt Payne to test in full.
However, just five laps of Winton Motor Raceway’s 3.0km layout was enough for Stanaway to come to terms with his new surrounds, marking a warning shot to his rivals.
“New car’s been great, only needed five laps for familiarisation,” Stanaway told Supercars.com at Winton.
“Just feels like it’s been a lot of waiting around in the off-season, a lot of time spent at the workshop. There’s only so much you can do before ultimately, as a driver, you need to be at the track.
“It’s great to finally be here, turn off the pit limiter and do some laps. Hopefully by tomorrow night, we’ll be feeling confident for the first race.”
Stanaway has made no secret of his burning desire to win the championship, with the New Zealander saying anything less than a title fight would be a “disappointment.”
The Tauranga native joins a team on the up, with Payne winning the 2023 season finale in Adelaide, just weeks after David Reynolds — now at Team 18 — snapped a five-year winless streak.
The 2024 season is also a chance for Stanaway to prove to himself that he belongs at the highest level of racing in Australia, telling Supercars.com in a wide-ranging interview that the Penrite Racing opportunity marks a “pinnacle” in his career.
"There’s been a lot of anticipation since I signed the deal back in August, it feels like quite a long time ago now,” he said.
"I’ve been counting down the months to get the season underway, which we’re finally close to now. It was very inspiring to see their form at the end of last year.
"For me, getting the chance for an organisation like this full-time in an elite category like Supercars, marks a pinnacle in my career.
"I feel like everything in my career has been leading to a moment like this. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to drive for this team, and I can’t wait for the season to start.
"It’s a superstar team of people. I feel like the only thing standing between myself and success is myself. As a driver, that’s all you can ever ask for.”
Stanaway’s full-time comeback commences in anger at the season-opening Thrifty Bathurst 500 on February 23-25. Tickets are on sale now.