Walkinshaw Andretti United has confirmed it will not field a wildcard entry in the 2023 enduros, but remains committed to finding a co-drive for Warren Luff.
WAU co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw left the door open to a 2023 wildcard at the recent Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint.
However, Walkinshaw reiterated that the team would make a call on a wildcard entry deeper into the season.
UPDATE: Team 18 pounces on Luff for 2023 enduros
It comes after the team built two brand new Gen3 Mustangs, having switched to Ford in the off-season.
On Friday, the team announced it will not field a wildcard in 2023 — but is still determined to deliver a co-drive for Luff.
WAU ran a wildcard for IndyCar stars Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe in the 2019 Bathurst 1000.
Luff, a six-time Bathurst podium-finisher, raced for WAU between 2014 and 2022, and claimed Bathurst podiums in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.
The veteran moved aside from a WAU co-drive to accommodate Lee Holdsworth’s return alongside with Chaz Mostert, with Fabian Coulthard shifting to Nick Percat’s car.
However, Luff remained a contracted driver with WAU, and is also the team's Driver Development Advisor in its Super2 program.
Luff’s input has already paid dividends, with WAU teenager Ryan Wood winning both races at last weekend’s Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint.
In Friday’s statement, WAU says its “first priority” after ruling out a wildcard is securing a co-drive for Luff.
As of Friday May 5, there are 11 vacancies on the main game grid. Given Luff is contracted to WAU, the team would offer him on loan elsewhere.
There are vacancies at Team 18, Brad Jones Racing, Matt Stone Racing, Nulon Racing and Blanchard Racing Team.
Of the five teams yet to confirm co-drivers, the Scott Pye Team 18 entry appears a likely suitor, given Tyler Everingham’s departure for Tickford Racing.
Luff (L) raced with Percat in 2022
Tim Blanchard has himself and Super2 driver Aaron Love at his disposal, with MSR running Aaron Seton and Jayden Ojeda in 2022.
Dylan O’Keeffe and Joey Mawson have tested Nulon Camaros already in 2023, with BJR racing with Dale Wood, Dean Fiore, Jordan Boys and Jaxon Evans last year.
Walkinshaw Andretti United has today announced it will not be fielding a Wildcard entry into the 2023 Supercars endurance season, including the Bathurst 1000.
The Team had investigated the opportunity, which included retaining Warren Luff as a driver for 2023, but ultimately, the costs associated with bringing the programme to life were untenable in the current climate.
From there, the team’s first priority was to ensure that Luff was able to find an endurance drive.
Luff will still remain with the team in his role as Driver Development Advisor in the Walkinshaw Andretti United Super2 Programme.
Quotes attributed to WAU Team Principal Bruce Stewart
“We were really keen to run a Wildcard entry this year at Sandown and Bathurst, but ultimately, with all that has occurred with Gen3 and the costs associated, it unfortunately wasn’t feasible.
“As soon as we made the decision not to progress, our first priority was ensuring that Luffy was on the grid this year, because it’s where he belongs.
“It’s disappointing not to bring it to life, Luffy was retained with us for a reason, but it’s something no doubt we will look to do in the future.”
Mostert and Percat are second and 25th in the drivers’ standings heading to the next round at Symmons Plains.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint on May 19-21.
Tickets for the event are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.