How an Instagram post snowballed into a Supercars wildcard
Tuesday 8th June, 2021 - 2:00pm
Peter Adderton says he couldn’t ignore the response from fans calling for a Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway wildcard after a tongue-in-cheek Instagram post went viral.
The concept came in the wake of Supercheap Auto backing a Triple Eight Race Engineering-run wildcard with retired star Russell Ingall as well as up-and-comer Broc Feeney.
In one of several Instagram posts, Adderton commended the automotive retailer for its commitment, but said he refused to be out-marketed, as first reported by Speedcafe.com.
The original post drew significant attention from fans, even attracting a comment from Dick Johnson Racing managing director Ryan Story who offered a Ford Mustang to facilitate the entry.
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In the weeks that followed, it became apparent that Adderton was indeed serious about the wildcard bid, albeit with some apprehension from the chosen drivers.
Despite Boost Mobile general manager and Adderton’s offsider Jason Haynes downplaying Adderton’s chances of getting Murphy and Stanaway onside, the telco boss pushed on.
Today, Erebus Motorsport announced the Kiwi duo will pair up to contest this year’s Great Race, though that might not have happened if not for the fans, according to Adderton.
“It all began when I saw Ingall post something about doing a wildcard,” Adderton told Speedcafe.com.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way in the world I’m going to let those guys out-market us’.
“I posted, tongue-in-cheek, the concept of getting Richie and Greg together, which has always been an idea of mine forever.
“I thought, ‘You know what? I’ll do it’. I did it tongue-in-cheek and then I started getting massive amounts of direct messages from fans going, ‘Are you serious? Can you make this happen?’
“I rang Jason and I said, ‘I’m going to make this happen’. Jason said there’s no way in the world Greg and Richie will do it. So I rang Richie and Greg.
“I called Greg and he said, ‘I know why you’re calling, and the answer is no’.
“Same thing with Richie. I rang Richie and he said nope.
“I said, ‘This is not me driving this. It’s the fans wanting it’.
“The fans just kept coming. I don’t get hundreds of comments on anything, but they kept coming. I almost felt like I couldn’t let them down. I couldn’t let the fans down.
“I rang Richie and Greg and said, ‘We can’t let them down’. They really want this to happen. I said, ‘We can’t not let this happen’.
“That’s how it came about.”
It’s been seven years since Murphy last raced in the Bathurst 1000, while Stanaway’s most recent appearance came in 2019.
Murphy has remained active in the Supercars scene as a television presenter and has made cameo outings in rallying and circuit racing on home soil.
Stanaway, meanwhile, has been absent from the motor racing scene since his sudden retirement at the end of 2019.
This year’s Bathurst 1000 will mark his first competitive outing in nearly two years.
Adderton admitted that had he not had such a positive response to his post that the wildcard likely wouldn’t have come to fruition.
“Honestly, if I didn’t get any response, I wouldn’t have done it,” Adderton explained.
“I would have said it was a funny joke, a funny Instagram post. But the overwhelming support of people going, ‘Make this happen’ – it was literally in the hundreds and then the thousands – then I was like, ‘Okay, this has got to happen’.
“It’s kind of their team. They created it. I just did it because I couldn’t let them down.”
Such has been the response from the fans, Adderton has even tasked the creator of a Murphy/Stanaway fan account with managing the team’s social media.
Adderton said he is keen to engage the fans as much as possible given the amount of support they’ve given the wildcard.
“This is their team,” said Adderton.
“I promise you, I wouldn’t have done this without the support of them getting behind it.
“We’re going to have a whole programme leading up to Bathurst that will include the fans. In fact, we’re going to have a fan run the social media channels.
“The guy who is running the Stanaway/Murphy Instagram channel now, I rang him and said, ‘Mate, you’re going to run it’. He said, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Yeah, ‘You’re going to be in the pits, working there’. He’s just a young guy who watched Greg when he was nine.
“I said, ‘You know what? [With] your passion, you’re in’. He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘You’re part of the team’.
“We’re going to start bringing some of the fans into the team as part of the team at Bathurst. They’ll be in there celebrating or crying or whatever we’ll be doing. It’ll be fun.”