Richie Stanaway is set to make a Supercars Championship return at next week’s OTR SuperSprint following an outing in an S5000 car at Winton.
The Garry Rogers Motorsport driver logged his first competitive laps in a race car since he withdrew midway through the Supercars round at the venue in May due to a neck injury.
Stanaway has sine been sidelined from races at Darwin, Townsville and Ipswich while he recovered from a prolapsed disc in his neck that has required numerous scans and visits to hospital.
To test his fitness the 27-year-old returned to his single-seater roots for a test in one of the GRM built V8 powered S5000 single seaters.
Stanaway completed the outing without issue with GRM now confident the Kiwi is able to take up his #33 Holden Commodore seat at The Bend Motorsport Park next week.
“It has been great to get back in an open wheeler first of all just to sign off any issues with my neck, which is all clear now, so I’m good to go for the rest of the season which was my biggest concern,” Stanaway told Speedcafe.com.
“I didn’t expect to have to withdraw from the race at Winton a couple of months ago so I wasn’t too sure how I would go until I got back in a car again, it is good to get that signed off today.”
The outing provided GRM an opportunity to fine tune its latest S5000 chassis build ahead of the much anticipated series debut at Sandown next month.
Armed with a wealth of single seater experience, Stanaway (a race winner in Formula 3, GP3 and GP2, now Formula 2) was able to offer plenty of constructive feedback.
The run was the Kiwi’s first in single seater since winning a GP2 race at Sochi in 2015.
“The best part for us today was to see Richie Stanaway fit and healthy,” said GRM team director Barry Rogers.
“To see a guy with his experience in an open wheel car to jump in the S5000 today and see it pushed like we haven’t seen it pushed before really gave me goosebumps watching him out on track.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Richie back in a Supercar at Tailem Bend and I’m sure it’s a relief and a huge weight off his shoulders knowing that he finally feels 100 perfect again.”
Stanaway was joined at Winton by Boost Mobile Racing Supercars team-mate James Golding, who also cut laps in the S5000.
Both drivers will head to South Australia next week for the OTR SuperSprint from August 23-25.