We can dream, can’t we?
We can dream, can’t we?

Door opens for Ricciardo Bathurst wildcard

The door is opening for Daniel Ricciardo to make a shock wildcard entry with his future McLaren team at the Bathurst 1000.

The Aussie Formula 1 driver has repeatedly flirted with the idea of driving a Supercar competitively - and his new team could provide the ingredients to make the dream a reality.

The 30-year-old star confirmed last week he is making a seismic move from Renault to English-based team McLaren for the 2021 Formula 1 season - and his new team boss Zak Brown is already thinking of side projects for Ricciardo to sink his teeth into when he arrives at the end of the 2020 season.

One of those projects includes a wildcard entry into the Bathurst 1000.

Brown, who bought into Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United in 2018, gave a preliminary green light to the project in a recent interview with Supercars Sidetracked on Fox Sports.

"I think they'd both love to do it," Brown said of Ricciardo and teammate Lando Norris teaming up for a Bathurst assault.

"I think people now know I'm a little bit different than most of the team bosses in F1 as I like to see our drivers go out and give it a go at Daytona or Le Mans, things of that nature.

"I think it'll just come down to schedule and whether they can fit it in the schedule.

"I'd love to see them do it there (in Bathurst).

 

Daniel Ricciardo has left the door open.
Daniel Ricciardo has left the door open.

"Let's see. For sure, they'll get a go in my Holden."

Norris, who recently took part in a the Supercars All Stars Eseries also recently gave the project his approval.

"100 per cent. In fact, Zak Brown has one," he said.

"We went to a track day once a couple of years ago. I didn't get to drive it there but he says he's allowing me to drive it if we ever go out on a track day again in his V8.

"I would love to, especially because it's so fun to drive on the simulator. I'm sure it's even better to drive on the actual race track. It's a handful, but in a good way. It's a lot of fun to drive."

Ricciardo 12 months ago said he was still considering a potential move to Supercars at the end of his Formula 1 career.

"When I first got into F1 a few years ago, I was like, 'Yeah, that'd be awesome, I'd love to (drive in the Supercars series after Formula 1),'" he said.

"But the more years I do this, it kind of wears you out. And I thought once I'm done [in F1], I think I'll be done.

"I'm probably kidding myself, because driving that, [Bathurst] would be pretty cool. I'll never say never.

"I'd give it a good 50-50 at the moment."

 

Ryan Walkinshaw team owner of Walkinshaw Andretti United and McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown.
Ryan Walkinshaw team owner of Walkinshaw Andretti United and McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown.

During his first drive in a competitive Supercars last year during a promotion with former Supercars champion Rick Kelly's Castrol Nissan at Calder Park, Ricciardo admitted the challenge excites him.

"I wouldn't say I got up to speed, but it took me a few laps to figure it out," Ricciardo said.

"When you've got so much aero [in an F1 car] you can brake right into the corner and then pick up the throttle early.

"There's not much rolling time. But [with a Supercar], there's a lot more rolling time.

"It's more in steps; you brake, ease off, roll, pick up the throttle. It's more delicate, in a way.

"Just picking some apexes with all of the rollcage and all that, I couldn't see much.

"I could see more out the front compared to an F1 car, but out the side it was trickier."

The Bathurst 1000 traditionally clashes with the annual Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix in October, but bigger hurdles have been overcome in motorsport.

Originally published as Door opens for Ricciardo Bathurst wildcard



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