Kiwi V8 Supercars team Super Black Racing have pulled off a major coup signing exciting New Zealand driver Richie Stanaway for this year's endurance events.
The 24-year-old Stanaway has become a star in Europe over the last few years, winning a couple of races in GP2 last year - the major feeder series into Formula 1 - and landing a fulltime drive in the GT sports car series.
He links up with the Ford team to partner fellow Kiwi and fulltime driver Chris Pither at the Bathurst 1000, Sandown 500 and Gold Coast street race later in the year and will spend the week with the team as they embark on the latest round of the series in Winton, Victoria this weekend.
"It is a dream come true for me," said Stanaway. "I always wanted to take part in the Bathurst 1000 and race in V8 Supercars and I'm really grateful for the opportunity.
"Bathurst is the race that inspired me to go racing as a kid."
Stanaway pursued the drive himself - getting in touch with Super Black to try to piece a deal together.
"I wanted to get into the enduros so I reached out to them initially and then communication sort of bounced back and forth from there. We met up a couple of times and I looked at my existing racing plans to try to figure out if it could work or not.
"I am really happy to get it confirmed and I am really looking forward to getting some laps in the co-driver session this weekend."
Stanaway had his first day with the team yesterday and will get out on track for the first time behind the wheel tomorrow. He knows it won't be easy adjusting from open wheel and sports cars in Europe to big, heavy V8s.
"I had a sit in the car and ... got familiar with it. I am probably going to be able to learn a lot just ... watching over everybody's shoulder over the weekend.
"We get a half-hour session on Friday ... and then I get a full day of running on Tuesday next week.
"The last time I drove a V8 Supercar was three years ago and it wasn't in a competitive environment. I am definitely not under-estimating the challenge of getting my head around the car.
"In my opinion the V8 Supercars is one of, if not the best championships in the world in terms of how competitive it is and how professional the teams are."