Bathurst winner Richards holds no regrets over Supercars career
By Tom Howard
Sunday 8th December, 2019 - 6:00am
Five-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner Steven Richards says he has ended his Supercars career with no regrets.
Richards made his Australian Touring Car Championship debut with Garry Rogers Motorsport and enjoyed a full-time ATCC/Supercars career until 2010, spanning 14 full seasons, and a part-time campaign in 1998 after joining Nissan’s BTCC line-up.
During his full-time career Richards, son of the great Jim Richards, recorded a best championship finish of fifth in 2004, a season that saw him feature as a genuine title contender driving for Perkins Engineering.
THE FINAL RACE OF THE 2023 REPCO SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST STREET CIRCUITS. GO ALL IN AT THE VAILO ADELAIDE 500, CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
However, the majority of Richards’ success came at the Bathurst 1000 claiming wins in 1998 with Jason Bright (Stone Brothers Racing) and the following year alongside Greg Murphy at Gibson Motorsport, before adding to his tally as a co-driver.
Three more Great Race triumphs followed, the first of which when he partnered Mark Winterbottom at Ford Performance Racing in 2013 before two successes with Craig Lowndes at Triple Eight in 2015 and 2018.
This year saw Richards chalk up his 27th start at the Bathurst 1000, racing for Team 18 when he joined Winterbottom.
While among the most successful drivers to ever race at Bathurst, a Supercars championship title eluded Richards during his time in the series.
However looking back on his time in the category he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’ve no regrets at all,” Richards told Speedcafe.com.
“For sure the Bathurst wins are outstanding. Driving with Dad and finishing on the podium at Bathurst in ’97 with Garry Rogers was awesome, and I have to thank GRM for giving me a start.
“But probably when I look back, from 2003 to 2005 with Larry (Perkins), we were really in contention for a championship back then.
“We gave it as good a shake as we could give it at the time and we came up a little bit short, but we were competitive doing the best we could against the best in the business and we were doing a good job.
“We can see throughout the history of Supercars racing that there are eras where teams dominate and we were involved in one of the biggest eras of HRT and Stone Brothers’ domination back then.
“We were fighting for championships against them in what was definitely a team that had all the engineering prowess to do the job but probably not quite the funding as some of the others.
“I think in 2003 and 2004 in particular, we led the championship right up until Bathurst and we were definitely in the mix in those years.
“For one reason or another, whether it was me making a mistake or having a few reliability issues, we didn’t get over the line but they were great times.
“I appreciate the good times and the memories, but you only get a sore neck from looking backwards.”
While his Supercars racing career is over, Richards will remain ever present in the paddock having taken up a relationship manager role at Team 18 after contesting his final enduro campaign with the squad this year.
The job will see Richards support the squad’s engineering team, as it grows to two entries for Winterbottom and Scott Pye, and look after the outfit’s commercial relationships.