Stanaway awaits Aston clearance for V8 debut
Richie Stanaway’s planned V8 Supercars race debut at September’s Sandown 500 remains provisional due to a date clash with the World Endurance Championship.
The 24-year-old Kiwi has signed to race for Super Black in V8 Supercars’ three-event Pirtek Enduro Cup, which kicks off with the Sandown 500 on September 16-18.
Stanaway competes full-time for Aston Martin Racing in the WEC, which will be in Austin, Texas, on the same weekend.
Although the conflict will see Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin forgo duties with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport at Sandown, Stanaway is confident that he’ll receive the green light to tackle the Melbourne venue.
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“The plan is to run Sandown, but we’ll have to see,” Stanaway told Speedcafe.com.
“I’m reasonably confident that we’ll do it, but there’s a possibility that we won’t be able to.
“I think it will depend on how we go at Le Mans (June 18-19) because it’s double points.
“If we win Le Mans we’d be in a good position for the championship so it’d be hard to get out of doing Austin.
“But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Stanaway sits equal seventh in the WEC standings alongside co-driver Fernando Rees after two of nine rounds, scoring a podium last time out at Spa.
Reaching out to Super Black Racing in January, Stanaway praised team owner Tony Lentino for having the faith to hire a category rookie with no experience of Bathurst.
Stanaway’s determination to perform strongly in the Enduro Cup has seen him fly to Australia for today’s 30 minute co-driver practice session at Winton, which will be followed by a ride day on Tuesday.
His only previous running in a current generation V8 Supercar came during a post-season test with Tekno Autosports in 2013.
“I’ve got some idea of what I’m getting into, but it’s obviously going to be difficult,” he said of adapting to the V8.
“It’s going to take a lot of mileage to get my head around it but I’m trying to do as much analysis as possible with data and onboards to minimise the time it’ll take to get up to speed.
“I’m reasonably confident that I can get up to speed. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m looking forward to it.
“Hopefully I can do the job and prove myself in the enduros and try and move forward from there.”
Stanaway makes clear that he would consider returning from Europe if the right full-time opportunity in V8 Supercars came up.
This season sees Stanaway concentrating solely on tin-tops for the first time in a career that has seen success in German Formula Masters and Formula 3, GP3, Formula Renault and GP2.
Although excited about the WEC and its ability to attract manufacturer backing, Stanaway admits to being frustrated that his outstanding open-wheel results were not enough to find his way into an F1 car.
“There’s no opportunities in testing or Friday sessions or race seats that don’t require massive amounts of budget which is something I’m completely not interested in,” he said of F1.
“I spent two years at Williams on their simulator and kind of hoped that they would give me a go, but I never got anywhere with it.
“If we brought budget we could have been in the car (for testing) but that wasn’t an option for me.
“It’s quite disheartening racing in GP2 and driving with a team that wasn’t able to provide a car good enough for the championship.
“We were still able to grab a couple of race wins out of it but still couldn’t get any further (with F1 teams).
“That’s why I’m in WEC now. But I think outside of F1 it’s one of the best places in the world to have a career.
“I think WEC is where I’ll spend my career if something doesn’t come up here (in V8 Supercars).”