Our friend Richie Stanaway will make a long-awaited return to the racing scene this weekend. The New Zealander has been offered a one-off drive at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in the support-category Porsche Carrera Cup races.
The hugely-talented driver suffered two fractured vertebrae in his back in a frightening accident during the Formula Renault 3.5 round at Spa-Francorchamps last year.
The accident kept the 2011 German F3 champion out of racing for the rest of the year, confining him to a lengthy recuperation where he has thankfully made a full recovery – as well being kind enough to grant us an exclusive interview, which you can read right here.
Before the accident, Stanaway had been tasked to drive for the Lotus F1 team at last year’s ‘Young Drivers’ test event.
He remains contracted to the team this year while also committed to a full-time season of Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup racing this year, which will keep him in the radar of many F1 teams given the category serves as a support championship during many of the Grands Prix in Europe.
This weekend’s series of races at Albert Park will be his first competitive outing since last year’s accident, although he did recently have a test outing for Aston Martin as he explored the chance of driving at this year’s 24 Hours of the Le Mans.
The outing will present the first major test on his body in over eight months, and Stanaway is understandably both nervous and excited at the prospect.
“I feel fine, but as this is my first race since my back injury, I am unsure as to how I will go this weekend under race conditions,” he is quoted as saying.
“This opportunity means so much to me as six months ago I thought I might never race again. I am just so excited and I would like to thank everyone involved who has made this possible.”
We’ll certainly be watching Richie’s progress with great interest this weekend, and we wish him all the best on his return to racing.