One of New Zealand's most gifted and underrated motor racers, Richie Stanaway, is making a comeback of sorts.
Stanaway and four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy are to be a wildcard entry at this year's Mount Panorama event racing a Holden out of the Erebus Motorsport stable backed by Boost Mobile owner Peter Adderton.
Stanaway walked away from motorsport after a fraught couple of seasons in Supercars and left to explore what else life had to offer.
However, the ever-persuasive Adderton soon haggled his way into getting Stanaway and Murphy to dust off their helmets and go racing again.
"At first, neither of us wanted to do it and we were both on the same page," Stanaway told the Weekend Herald from Pukekohe. "Bathurst is a tough race, even for those who race full-time, and one you're typically not too keen to have a crack at after being away for a while.
"Peter Adderton rallied us up and he can talk you into anything. Now we've both changed our minds, we're both glad we're going ahead with it. It's going to be a cool little adventure racing together."
While Murphy spent most of his motorsport career racing Supercars, Stanaway was a relative newcomer to the category. He mainly raced single seaters, up to and including GP2 (now F2), winning four races, and then sportscars in the World Endurance Championship, also occasionally topping the podium.
A massive accident in 2012, along with disillusionment with the politics of the sport, saw him head home in 2016. He signed as a co-driver at Tickford Racing and won the Sandown 500 with Cameron Waters in 2017. He was soon snapped up to drive full-time but the honeymoon was short-lived and he was gone in 2019.
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Having done little fitness-wise, Stanaway has been working hard the past two months trying to regain his race fitness. Part of his build-up to the Great Race is an outing this weekend at Pukekohe in the North Island Endurance Series finale in a Richards Motorsport Toyota Camry V8.
"I'm at the track right now and looking forward to getting back into a car for a test day. It will be really good for me to get back in a car in a low-pressure environment. It's going to rain, which is not ideal, but it's good.
"Tony Richards Toyota wanted to get the car into the last round of the endurance series, so they called me up and asked if I wanted to do it, so I said yes. The car's close enough to a Supercar to get some seat time in something similar, as it's almost as fast as a Supercar.
"It's really good seat time over three days and a good opportunity. I haven't raced much at Pukekohe but it's a great track."