It is easy to forget that Warren Luff was a full-time V8 Supercars for 18 months between 2010 and 2011, driving for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
It was a difficult time for both Luff and the newly-formed team, but both have moved on to greener pastures.
This year, Luff is driving for TeamVodafone in the V8 Supercars endurance races with TeamVodafone alongside Craig Lowndes. According to Luff, it’s his big chance at achieving his career objective – to win the Bathurst 1000.
Speedcafe.com’s Grant Rowley spoke to Luff about driving for the Triple Eight team, racing as a part-timer and driving Audis on his spare weekends …
SPEEDCAFE: You are a TeamVodafone endurance driver and are doing selected GT-style races for Audi in different parts of the world. Are you happy with where you’re at in your racing career at the moment?
WARREN LUFF: Yeah, I am. I guess you’d always like to do more, but I’ve already done three events with Audi, and there’s a possibility of more later. And we’re coming up to the enduros soon (for V8 Supercars). I’m really happy.
My motivation behind leaving a full-time seat and racing with TeamVodafone was that I want to win Bathurst, and there’s no better team and no better driver than Craig Lowndes.
You always want to do more racing, but I’d rather do two races and know that you stand a really good chance of standing on the top step of the podium come Sunday afternoon, compared to being one of the other guys just making up the numbers. For me, it’s not just about driving the race car, I want to win.
SPEEDCAFE: So would you sacrifice a top-line endurance drive to return to the championship full-time?
LUFF: It’s kind of hard. You come and be part of an organisation like Triple Eight and it’s almost like sitting down and eating fillet steak and drinking fine wine, versus having left overs and beer. Both fill your stomach, but it comes down to the quality of eating you want to do.
It has been a real eye-opener coming here. I’m really enjoying the role I have. Craig and I have a good rapport and relationship with each other. We’ve done the 12 Hour for the last two years with Audi, we went to Germany together last year (for the Nurburgring 24 Hour), and he’s a great guy to work with.
I suppose when I look into my future as to what I want to achieve in the sport, my motivation was plain and simple – I want to win Bathurst. With Craig being at Triple Eight for another three years, I really can’t see a better place for me to position myself than being his co-drivers in the enduros.
You can never say never to any opportunity, but I think I’ve been around long enough and seen enough to know that this is where I want to be and this is where I’m happy to make my home.
SPEEDCAFE: You’re on a one year deal with Triple Eight. Do you see your role at the team lasting beyond that?
LUFF: Absolutely, but firstly, I have to do the job for Craig and the team.
As a co-driver, your role is not to do anything silly, because the race is won at the end of the race when Craig is in the car. I just need to do the best job supporting him and the team. For us, it’s not just about winning Bathurst, it’s about helping his championship. The best way I can do that is to do my job, do it well, stay out of trouble, and if I can do that, the team will be happy with what I do.
SPEEDCAFE: So it would be fair to say that contact extensions will be spoken about after Bathurst …
LUFF: I suppose those balls will be in Roland’s court. He’s not someone you can railroad into anything. He is very much has his own ideas in terms of the direction of the team. I just hope that I do the job and he’s happy enough and he wants me as part of the future direction of the team.
SPEEDCAFE: Lets talk about Audi and your GT racing. Do we see you get more race time overseas later this year?
LUFF: Yeah, there’s potentially more. There’s no such thing as ‘definite’ until you’re on the starting grid.
The 24 Hour race was a disappointment. Our race was a 21 Hour race (due to an accident). There’s definitely been some good discussions and strong talk about some future races with them over in Europe.
At the moment, the 12 Hour at Bathurst is up in the air too. It’s up to Audi signing off the budget, but the team is definitely keen to come back, and both Craig and I are definitely keen to come back.
It’s an ongoing relationship and it’s one that I hope continues into the future.
SPEEDCAFE: You’re doing lots of one-off races, but you’re not really competing for a championship. Is that something you’d like to do again, whether it’s Australian GT, or the Dunlop Series, or something overseas?
LUFF: That’s definitely something I’d like to do next year. In a perfect world, I’d like to see the relationship with Audi continue and run a car in Australian GT, but there is a few things that need to happen in terms of the stability and the rules regarding professional drivers need to be ratified.
My plan, for sure, would be to do another series to give me more miles and, for no other reason, that I love racing cars and I love being out there competing. I always want to get as much track time as I can, but again, it’s about the quality not just the quantity.