Richie Stanaway confirmed for full-time 2018 Supercars debut
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After much speculation, it's been confimed that Prodrive Racing have signed New Zealander Richie Stanaway on a multi-year deal as a full-time pilot. This will see him race alongside the team's existing drivers; Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert, and Cameron Waters.
The announcement comes after a fruitful 2017 campaign, where he scored a race victory on debut in the Dunlop Super2 feeder series, and then a barnstorming win alongside Monster Energy co-driver Waters at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
“It’s been coming along for a while, but it’s good to finally have the deal done. It’s been a childhood dream for me to race in Supercars, so it’s great to check that off the bucket list,” Stanaway said.
“There’s a big difference between participating in the sport and being successful. I’m aware that I’ve got a long road ahead of me and a lot to learn, but I’m really motivated. I’m putting my best foot forward, and want to learn as much as I possibly can in my rookie season.
“I’m expecting it to be tough, that’s just a realistic approach.”
The Tauranga driver will be the fifth Kiwi on the Supercars grid, joining 2017 championship contenders Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen, and Fabian Coulthard, as well as recent Nissan Motorsport announcement André Heimgartner.
It's Stanaway's first full-time drive in any series since 2014, when he competed in GP3 with Status Grand Prix. Since then he's been split over various European GT championships, including the World Endurance Championship.
“It’s been so long since I’ve had a proper full time, long time project to commit myself to. It makes a big difference in my mind set, and it’s an opportunity I’m really grateful for,” he said.
“I’m really thankful that the team have believed in me and not only given me the chance to co-drive for a couple years, but given me the amazing opportunity to come and drive full time.”
Prodrive Racing Team Principal Tim Edwards is happy to see Stanaway join the fold, following two years of co-driver work for the former championship-winning squad.
“We’re obviously delighted to have Richie aboard with us full time. For as young as he is, he brings more experience and achievements to the table than a lot of veterans, and he’s impressed us every time we’ve put him on track,” Edwards said.
“He’s proven he deserves a top quality ride in this sport, and I’m glad he’ll be racing for us rather than against us.
“We’ll head into 2018 with four great drivers in four fast cars, and we believe we’ll be a threat to win any time out. We’ve elevated our expectations for next season, and we can’t wait to hit the track.”