Richie Stanaway has admitted that he still doesn’t feel completely at home in GT racing and as a result believes has more potential to unlock.
The 24 year-old has been part of the Aston Martin Racing factory setup since 2013, but dual campaigns with Porsche Supercup, GP3 and GP2 have prevented him from focusing completely on his GT programme. However, this hasn’t prevented the Kiwi from impressing, with three pole positions in the FIA World Endurance Championship last year – including a storming run to pole on his first visit to Le Mans – to earn himself a test with Audi’s R18 LMP1 car in Bahrain.
With a career in endurance racing now his main priority, Stanaway will again contest the full WEC and this weekend makes his return to the Nordschleife for VLN2, the final preparation for the Nürburgring 24 Hour race next month.
“Even though I’ve been racing GTs for a while now, it still doesn’t quite feel as natural as when I’m in a single-seater or in the prototype I tested last year,” said Stanaway. “If I was to do two or three seasons in a row without any other type of racing then I think I’d feel at home with a GT car, but I’ve never been able to fully convert because I’ve always done two in the same season. I’ve done GP3 and GP2 in the last few years and I’ve never just done a whole season in GT racing, so I’ve always been a bit out of the groove when I got back in the GT car.
Running VLN this weekend in an @AMR_Official GT3. Hope it stops snowing before I get there… 😁❄️
— Richie Stanaway (@RichieStanaway) April 27, 2016
“If I just spend more time in one without having to jump between the two, there is a last little bit that can come from being fully comfortable with the car,” he added. “You go and do two or three races in GP2 or GP3 and you lose that edge when you get back in the GT, in the same way if I had a string of WEC races in between the single-seater races I would lose the edge in the single-seater. It’s good probably this year to just focus on WEC and keep trying to build on my performances throughout the year.”
Stanaway’s LMP1 test was something of an eye-opener after three years being lapped by them, but while he concedes that he would have to consider any offer that came his way to race in the more powerful class, he would not be unhappy to remain at AMR for the foreseeable future.
“With my single-seater experience I do feel more comfortable in a prototype and if an opportunity opens up in LMP1 then it would definitely be something I’d have to consider, but I do like the GT class in WEC and I feel very comfortable with AMR,” Stanaway continued. “After being with the team for four years, you will obviously consider staying with them to keep the continuity and have to learn a whole new team, so staying here for the rest of my career is definitely something that I would consider.”