Shock swap: Kiwi Richie Stanaway scores Supercars drive with GRM
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He looked down and out, but New Zealand race ace Richie Stanaway has bounced back from last month's dumping with the news that he will join Garry Rogers Motorsport's Supercars campaign for 2019.
"I am excited and thankful to GRM and Boost Mobile for giving me a chance to race in one of the greatest championships in the world," Stanaway said.
"My approach last year and my attitude, which often stemmed from my own frustration, was the wrong approach at times. I apologise to the people and fans that supported me and believed in me.
"GRM and Boost Mobile have given me a chance and I am committed to give it 100 percent and do what it takes as a team to win."
Stanaway steps in as the replacement for former Bathurst and series champion Garth Tander. The 41-year-old was the team's strongest driver across 2017 and 2018, but now appears without a full-time drive for the first time since he made his Supercars debut (also with GRM) in the mid-'90s.
There are other changes at the popular squad, too. They have confirmed that Boost Mobile (a former personal backer of Stanaway's) have signed on as primary backers in a multi-year deal to replace the outgoing sponsorship from Wilson Security.
For Stanaway, the decision comes off the back of a difficult debut season with Tickford Racing. His previously unquestioned talents behind the wheel (which have previously helped him achieve championship-winning success in the German Formula 3 series, race-winning success with Aston Martin's factory GTE team, and a Sandown 500 win in 2017) came very much into question after a slew of disappointing results.
At the end of the season Stanaway was 25th in the points, ahead of only one other full-time driver (Todd Hazelwood), and nine spots behind the next Tickford driver (Cameron Waters). Tander by contrast finished 13th in the standings.
But, team owner Garry Rogers and Boost Mobile have faith in the 27-year-old Kiwi.
"Boost Mobile has a long history in supporting motorsport both in Australia and in the United States," founder Peter Adderton said.
"We are excited about the opportunity to work with Garry Rogers, the entire GRM team and potential talent like potential Richie and James. We all saw what Richie was capable at Bathurst in 2017 and believe in the right team with the right management, support, and cars we will see him battle up the front.
"We don't mind being the underdog and fighting our way forward, it makes for great entertainment."