MSR mulling Bathurst 1000 co-drive for Harris

Ryal Harris

Ryal Harris could become the oldest Bathurst 1000 debutant in seven years, should he convince Matt Stone Racing to hand him a co-drive this October.

The five-time ute racing champion will finally get his first full Dunlop Super2 Series campaign this year in a reunion with MSR, who he won the 2015 V8 Utes title with.

Harris spent yesterday behind the wheel of his VF Commodore at Queensland Raceway, and is making no secret of the fact he’d love to pursue opportunities at the highest level of Supercars competition.

“I definitely would love to have a co-drive,” said the 36-year-old, who will celebrate another birthday in July well before the 2022 Great Race is held across October 6-9.

“I’m probably a bit long in the tooth to get a full-time gig in the main game but you never say never.”

Asked if he’d rule out the co-drive prospect, MSR owner Matt Stone fired back with “absolutely not”.

“We haven’t really had any conversations about it but my view on that is, I’m a big supporter of Super2 – we as a team came through Super2 – and I think if our main game team had a title contender in Super2 and didn’t have them as a co-driver, we’d be sort of letting down the category,” Stone told Speedcafe.com.

“It’s difficult with timing constraints; by the time you can really get a good assessment of where they’re going in that particular championship, it’s almost too late to make that decision.

“But certainly we’re mindful of that and we’ll wait until after Round 1 before we start making any decisions regarding co-drivers.”

Harris testing at Queensland Raceway

If Harris was to win over the team, he would become the oldest Bathurst 1000 debutant since Oliver Gavin in 2014. The Brit, then aged 42, scored a podium at first attempt for Walkinshaw Racing alongside Nick Percat.

Stone is hoping both his Super2 drivers – returnee Aaron Seton is Harris’ team-mate – can contend for race wins this year.

“Yeah, [Harris] is a bit older than the young guys there but there’s been plenty of evidence in Super2 of the older guys coming in and teaching the young guys how it’s done,” Stone added.

“I’ve always said Ryal is very naturally talented and he has had a few little forays in Super2 before, so for us it’s really good to get back in there and see if we can’t make a go of it for him.”

Harris’ prior Super2 experience consists of one-off appearances at Bathurst in 2014 and 2016.

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