Richie Stanaway’s first Triple Eight laps have come early in a pre-Bathurst 12 Hour Tailem Bend test.
Stanaway will make his LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour debut in a Triple Eight/Johor Mercedes-AMG.
The Kiwi will share a Pro-Am Boost Mobile-backed AMG GT3 with Jamie Whincup and Prince Jefri Ibrahim.
Whincup, the 2017 12 Hour winner, will make his first start in the race since 2020.
Prince Jefri made his 12 Hour debut in 2022, and finished on the podium with Shane van Gisbergen and Broc Feeney.
Stanaway, Whincup and Prince Jefri took to The Bend Motorsport Park to test their Mercedes on Tuesday.
It marked Stanaway’s first laps in a working Triple Eight capacity, just days after being announced as van Gisbergen’s Supercars enduros co-driver.
Stanaway will join van Gisbergen in the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 events later this year.
First, however, will be a 12 Hour debut — an appearance which brings an “excited” Stanaway back to GT racing.
Notably, Stanaway raced for Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship between 2013 and 2017.
“This year’s Bathurst 12 Hour is going to be a great race to be a part of,” Stanaway said.
“I’ve never raced at the 12 Hour before. I did a lot of GT racing when I was in Europe, but it’s been two years now since I’ve driven a GT car.
“I’m looking forward to getting the feeling of a GT car again with its extra downforce compared to what I’ve driven in the past few years.
“It’s going to really helpful for me to drive at Bathurst again and complete more laps than what I would have done at last year’s Bathurst 1000.
“It’s one of the top international events in the world, and I’m looking forward to experiencing what it’s like.
“I’m also excited to be sharing a car with Prince Jefri and Jamie – he’s someone I’ve looked up to my whole career.”
Prince Jefri is compelled by the prospect of racing with both Whincup and Stanaway at Mount Panorama.
Whincup recently shared a Triple Eight Mercedes with Jefri’s brother Abu at the VALO Adelaide 500.
Just weeks earlier, Abu escaped a scary crash at McPhillamy at the Bathurst International.
The Prince, who will turn 30 on race day at Mount Panorama, won the Bathurst three-hour race with Feeney last November.
“Bathurst has always been a special track, and one of my favourites,” he said.
“There have been a lot of good memories there; from standing on the podium at my first endurance race in 2022 with SVG and Broc, to winning the Bathurst International six months later.
“This year’s Bathurst 12 hour will be interesting as there are a lot more cars and international teams entering.
“Competition will be high, but I’m really looking forward to working alongside Jamie who has a lot of experience, and wins, at this track.
“It will be my first time driving with Richie, and I’m really excited by our team this year.
“Triple Eight have been working so hard towards this race.
“We hope to have a good result, carrying on the positive momentum of last year to fight against the field in 2023.”
Tickets for the 2023 LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour are on sale now on Ticketek.com.
By James Pavey, Supercars.com