Ingall still hungry for Supercars co-drives
Russell Ingall says he is far from calling time on his Supercars enduro career as he looks set to be absent from the Bathurst 1000 grid for the first time in 24 years this season.
The Supercars veteran, now Fox Sports television pundit, is likely to be in the studio rather than the cockpit for this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup after failing to land a co-drive.
After announcing his retirement from full-time Supercars driving at the end of 2014, Ingall has secured co-drives in each of the last two seasons.
He was drafted in to the Holden Racing Team alongside Jack Perkins in 2015 after James Courtney was ruled out through injury.
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Ingall also stood in for the injured Chaz Mostert (Prodrive) at the Gold Coast 600 the same year, before landing a drive alongside Rick Kelly at Nissan Motorsport last season.
With the Pirtek Enduro Cup driver line up only awaiting confirmation of Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport’s two co-drivers, Ingall admits his run of 23 consecutive Bathurst 1000s, which began in 1994, is likely to come to an end.
However, he remains hungry to continue co-driving and is on standby should an opportunity arise.
“All the drives that you want are gone and you don’t just want to go out there and make up the numbers,” Two-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Ingall told Speedcafe.com.
“Those opportunities that have come up over the last couple of years are because of unusual circumstances to say the least.
“The Nissan thing was fun for last year. It was a shame, and Rick (Kelly) freely admits the cars were not as competitive as what he would have liked for the enduros. The result could have been a lot better.
“But at the end of the day I will just see if the phone rings. You never know something might happen but I would want to be in a reasonable car that I can feel confident in.
“I enjoy it and the guys from Fox have given me the blessing to do it if something comes up and it is good value for them as it gives them access to behind the scenes.
“I think it is going to be a real challenge sitting there for the first time in the last 20 plus years and not doing Bathurst. That is going to be pretty hard as I haven’t missed one in a while.”
Although set to miss Supercars’ showpiece event, Ingall has already enjoyed a drive at Mount Panorama this year when he made his GT3 racing debut at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The 2005 Supercars champion teamed up with Fox Sports colleague and former Supercars rival Mark Skaife, two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Tony Longhurst and former F1 driver Timo Glock in a factory supported BMW M6 GT3.
While the race ended in retirement, Ingall remains keen on exploring further opportunities in GT racing.
“I enjoyed doing the 12 Hour and GT racing in general, but at the end of the day you have to look long term and the TV gig is going pretty good and I don’t want to jeopardise that,” he added.
“I enjoy enduro racing and I think it is pretty challenging and I like the GT cars. If I can put some deals together here and there that would be a nice little thing.”