Will Bathurst wildcard lead to full-time Stanaway return?

Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway

Richie Stanaway is undecided whether he will pursue further opportunities in the Repco Supercars Championship beyond his wildcard outing this October.

Stanaway was earlier this month announced to partner Greg Murphy in a Boost Mobile-backed Erebus Motorsport-run entry at the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000.

It came only after significant encouragement from Boost boss Peter Adderton to persuade both drivers to come out of retirement, with Stanaway, 29, having not raced since 2019.

The GP2 race winner’s previous time in Supercars met an ugly end following rough single seasons with Tickford Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport.

Stanaway has spent the past 18 months away from the spotlight back home in New Zealand, focusing on the business world.

Many say he’s a changed man, and one better equipped to dealing with the various pressures that come with being a professional racing driver in Australia’s premier championship.

“Every year you get older you get a bit wiser, so you just learn from the past and you get better,” said the man himself.

“It’s been good to have a couple of years off and get away from it I think, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it.”

Stanaway made a return to competition on the weekend in Round 4 of New Zealand’s North Island Endurance Series, driving a V8 Toyota Camry at Pukekohe Park.

He’s expected to partake in his first pre-Bathurst Supercars test in the next six weeks and is open to where his path takes him from there.

“I actually don’t know,” Stanaway told Speedcafe.com when asked if the wildcard would be the start of a full-blown return to Supercars.

“The way I’m going about it is I’ll get back in shape and just try to do my best at the race so that if I do get the urge or the desire to try to put something together again, if I put my best foot forward then I will be in the best position to do so.

“I’m definitely not going to show up and just take a laidback approach; I’ll be giving it everything I’ve got to try to do the best possible job.

“And then whether I feel like co-driving or full-time again, honestly I don’t really know at this point.

“Obviously a lot of it comes down to how I feel back out on track again and speed-wise and that kind of thing, it’s something that I have to just wait and see how it all pans out.

“I haven’t really thought too much about it, just focus on the race itself and get that out of the way and then go from there.”

The fact Stanaway is part of the Boost Mobile stable of drivers could open the door for future opportunities, given Adderton has publicly committed to running a minimum of two Boost Mobile cars next year.

Erebus team owner Betty Klimenko meanwhile has spoken of her team being able to give Stanaway the necessary “spark” to reboot his career.

Months of preparation for Stanaway and Murphy will culminate in the Great Race on October 7-10.

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