Following an outstanding second season as a co-driver in the Supercars ranks for Prodrive Racing (Australia), Kiwi Richie Stanaway is set to achieve a lifelong dream as he becomes a full time driver in Australia’s premiere racing series. The 26-year old has inked a multi-year deal with Prodrive Racing, completing the four-car assembly with which the team will contest the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
After an impressive run as a co-driver to Chris Pither for PRA customer entry Super Black Racing in 2016, Stanaway was placed alongside 23-year old Cameron Waters for the 2017 Pirtek Enduro Cup campaign. The pair won on debut from pole at the Sandown 500 in September, led 63 laps at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, and placed runners up in the Saturday race at the Gold Coast 600 in October en route to third place in the Enduro Cup standings.
Stanaway’s promotion to a full time seat supplements an already expansive racing resume which includes stints in single seaters, sports cars, and touring cars. He is the only full time driver to have competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and also boasts race victories in the World Endurance Championship, Formula 2, and GP3 in addition to his Sandown win earlier this year.
“Obviously it’s good to have everything ready,” said Stanaway, who will pilot the No. 56 Ford Falcon FG X in 2018. “It’s been coming along for a while, but it’s good to finally have the deal done. It’s been a childhood dream for me to race in Supercars, so it’s great to check that off the bucket list.”
While expectations are understandably high, Stanaway aims to remain practical in his maiden full time season and absorb as much as he can throughout the year.
“The first objective is always just to get into the series,” he said, “but there’s a big difference between participating in the sport and being successful. I’m aware that I’ve got a long road ahead of me and a lot to learn, but I’m really motivated. I’m putting my best foot forward, and want to learn as much as I possibly can in my rookie season. I’m expecting it to be tough, that’s just a realistic approach.”
The opportunity affords the Tauranga, New Zealand product the chance focus on a full season in one category for the first time since 2014, when he competed in GP3.
“That makes a huge difference, I think,” said the Kiwi. “It’s been so long since I’ve had a proper full time, long time project to commit myself to. It makes a big difference in my mind set, and it’s an opportunity I’m really grateful for. I’m really thankful that the team have believed in me and not only given me the chance to co-drive for a couple years, but given me the amazing opportunity to come and drive full time.”
Team principal and CEO Tim Edwards echoed Stanaway’s enthusiasm, and is pleased to have the rookie under his watch.
“We’re obviously delighted to have Richie aboard with us full time. For as young as he is, he brings more experience and achievements to the table than a lot of veterans, and he’s impressed us every time we’ve put him on track. He’s proven he deserves a top quality ride in this sport, and I’m glad he’ll be racing for us rather than against us.”
Stanaway joins Chaz Mostert, Cameron Waters, and Mark Winterbottom to form the team’s four-driver lineup for 2018. Including Stanaway & Waters’ Sandown win, the quartet has won a combined 51 races in Supercars competition.
“Having Richie join the team really completes the package for us,” said Edwards. “We’ll head into 2018 with four great drivers in four fast cars, and we believe we’ll be a threat to win any time out. We’ve elevated our expectations for next season, and we can’t wait to hit the track.”
Stanaway’s first scheduled appearance with the four-car outfit will take place February 16 at Sydney Motorsport Park at a Supercars sanctioned open test. The Kiwi’s first race event with the Campbellfield based program commences March 1-4 at the Adelaide 500.