Wall raring for unexpected Bathurst 1000 comeback

David Wall. Picture: Ross Gibb

The 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 has proven to be the event of comebacks – but a return that wasn’t expected even by the man himself was that of David Wall.

A host of drivers had announced they would emerge from retirement to contest this year’s Great Race, namely Luke Youlden, Russell Ingall, Greg Murphy and Richie Stanaway (the latter two’s wildcard entry having since been scrapped due to travel complications).

Although having never officially retired from the Supercars Championship, Wall was no longer chasing opportunities when he got the call-up for a 10th Bathurst 1000 start, as announced just last week.

The 38-year-old will co-drive in Brad Jones Racing’s #4 SCT Logistics entry alongside Jack Smith, replacing Ash Walsh who was hindered by Queensland’s continued border stance.

Wall’s last Supercars race came at the 2017 Gold Coast 600, sharing a Nissan Altima with Rick Kelly.

Asked if he had thought his main game days were now behind him, the Sydneysider responded: “To be fair, I maybe hoped that they weren’t, but I didn’t go actively pursuing any co-driver roles because I had enough going on with the business and everything else I was racing anyway.

“But I was kind of always hopeful in the background, always just kept my licence just in case.

“A few things lined up when poor old Ash Walsh couldn’t make it down across the border for some obvious reasons with the COVID restrictions and I happen to be Sydney-based which has worked in my favour.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge, effectively, not having driven a Supercar since 2017 with Rick Kelly – last one was a Nissan, and I haven’t driven a Holden since 2013.

“So, when you add up what’s gone on between now and then, it’s been a very long time since I have driven one.”

Paul Forgie (left) and Wall. Picture: Brad Jones Racing

Wall got behind the wheel of Smith’s ZB Commodore at a test day last Tuesday at Sydney Motorsport Park, before taking part in an Additional Drivers Practice session three days later at the same circuit.

There, he wound up 13th, second among the four-pronged BJR co-driver fleet.

“At the end of the day I was happy to just be there or thereabouts and kind of learn a bit more about the newer spec car and take that to Bathurst,” said Wall, who twice scored podiums teamed with Scott McLaughlin in a Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo.

“It’s been a pretty easy transition back into BJR, they are a great group of guys and [engineer] Paul Forgie and Jack and the whole team there on Car #4 is very easy to slide into, and there’s a lot of familiar faces that are still there since my last year full-time in 2013.”

It will be a big week at Bathurst for Wall and his team, Wall Racing, which will field entries in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia, Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia, and Turtle Wax Trans Am Series elements of the November 30 to December 5 event.

Wall himself will be on double duties, continuing his usual efforts in Carrera Cup, in which he won the 2017 title.

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