Formula 1's Daniel Ricciardo is pretty keen to do the Bathurst 1000
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He's arguably the most popular personality in the Formula 1 paddock, and now Daniel Ricciardo has shown an interest in competing in the Bathurst 1000. Albeit, that interest is of the 'wait and see' variety.
The 29-year-old enjoyed his first drive of the Aussie Supercar last week in the build-up for the Australian Grand Prix. It was an experience he clearly enjoyed, as evidenced by his signature Guinness Book of World Records grin. And now the Renault F1 pilot has reflected on the likelihood of a drive at the Bathurst 1000 after Formula 1.
"I got asked not long ago 'after F1 would you want to do some races, do something else like V8s or NASCAR or Le Mans?'," Ricciardo said.
"When I first got into F1 a few years ago, I was like 'yeah, that'd be awesome, I'd love to'. But the more years I do this, it kind of wears you out. And I thought 'once I'm done [in Formula 1], I think I'll be done'.
"I'm probably kidding myself, because driving [at Bathurst] would be pretty cool. I'll never say never. I'd give it a good 50-50 at the moment."
The comments come off the back of a difficult debut with Renault on the weekend. Qualifying outside the top 10, Ricciardo made a great start only to rip his nose-cone off on the grass while trying to make places. That put him down the order, while mechanical issues later on ended his race prematurely.
There are obvious career curious parallels here with fellow Aussie F1 ace Mark Webber. After leaving the Red Bull Formula 1 fold in similarly sour inter-team-rivalry circumstances, Webber went on to race in the World Endurance Championship with Porsche.
Throughout his departure from F1, his time with Porsche, and his ultimate retirement from motorsport there were a deluge of calls for him to race at Bathurst (either in the 12 Hour or the 1000), but Webber chose to stay away.
On the flip-side, there's also Fernando Alonso. The former Formula 1 champion (ironically with Renault) couldn't wait to take up other opportunities once he retired from the series. In fact while he was still racing in Formula 1 he tackled the Indy 500, before going on to join Toyota's LMP1 World Endurance Championship squad.
Now there's strong speculation that the Spaniard could be on the Bathurst 1000 grid as soon as 2020, as he tries to take on the world's biggest races.
As Ricciardo's F1 career enters a new chapter with Renault, down the line he will have to decide at the fork whether he wants to exit the sport cleanly, or pursue new challenges. If he chooses the latter, expect to see him at The Great Race.