While Richie Stanaway will race with Triple Eight for the first time in 2023, it isn’t his first influence on the team.
On Friday, Stanaway was confirmed as Garth Tander’s replacement alongside Shane van Gisbergen for the 2023 enduros.
The New Zealanders will share the #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro at Sandown and Bathurst.
It was at Mount Panorama in 2017 where Stanaway shone brightest of all — and his performance caught the attention of his future employers five years later.
Stanaway partnered Cam Waters at Tickford Racing — then named Prodrive — for the 2017 enduros.
The pair duly won the Sandown 500, and headed to Bathurst brimming with confidence.
Rainfall on race day led to Stanaway showing supreme confidence in fully wet conditions.
Then aged 25, Stanaway took over from main driver Waters after the first stop with the car at the back end of the top five.
Stanaway was more than 30 seconds off leader Luke Youlden after the lap 22 stop.
By lap 40, Stanaway was in the lead, and the margin blew out to over 15 seconds after his next stop.
With rain lashing Bathurst in 2022, Triple Eight studied Stanaway’s performance to try and get an edge.
“They call it the go-kart line, traditionally you’d run off the line in go-karts, you run out in the marbles,” Tander said.
“When you do your track walk you look at the track and you understand where the asphalt is effectively worn out.
“In the wet that’s not where you want to go. You want to go where the stones are nice and sharp still.
“The tyre can bite into those stones, so you run around the outside.
“We actually did a fair bit of research from when Richie Stanaway ran here in the wet a few years ago.
“He was clearly the fastest, he was running quite wide at Turn 1, quite wide at the Cutting, quite wide at Forrest’s Elbow.
“We did a lot of research coming here knowing the forecast was going to be quite wet, where to position the car and look at some alternate lines and trying that.
“That’s certainly what Shane is doing right now.”
Van Gisbergen and Tander won Sunday’s race, which was largely held in dry conditions.
Stanaway, meanwhile, made headlines that weekend when he qualified fifth in driving rain aboard a Boost Mobile-backed Erebus wildcard Holden.
Come 2023, and he will be alongside the reigning Bathurst winner, no less — a situation which has encouraged Triple Eight boss Jamie Whincup.
"The team and I are delighted to have Richie teaming up with SVG for this year’s Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000,” Whincup said.
"Triple Eight’s ethos is about providing the necessary resources to support talented drivers in reaching their full potential, which I think we’re yet to see with Richie.
"His performance at last year’s Bathurst 1000 is a testament to what he can achieve in this sport.
"He’ll be an exciting addition to the team, and I can’t wait to see what this Kiwi-combo can achieve come enduro season."
The Penrite Oil Sandown 500 will be held on September 17, with the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 8.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence in Newcastle on March 10-12.
Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.