Casey Stoner poised for car racing debut in Australia

Double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has shown off the Red Bull Racing Australia Holden car he will make his long-awaited V8 Supercars debut in later this week.

The former factory Ducati and Repsol Honda rider will contest the Dunlop Development Series in 2013 and his competitive four-wheeled debut will come on the unforgiving Victoria Park street track in Adelaide when practice kicks off tomorrow (Thursday).

Stoner, who won 38 MotoGP races in his career, said: “I can’t wait. It’s exciting to finally get the chance to be at a race weekend after so much time thinking about it. I think it’s going to be fantastic and I’m very much looking forward to it. Everything’s gone pretty smoothly so far but until we’re on the track there’s only so much we can do.

But the team has been great and helped me out in absolutely every way possible and I’m very excited.”
Stoner, who retired from MotoGP aged just 27 at the end of 2012, said he was slightly apprehensive about making his debut on a street circuit lined with cement barriers.

His only knowledge of the circuit is what he’s learned on the computerised simulator at Triple Eight Race Engineering’s headquarters in Brisbane. In fact, the only competition circuit Stoner has driven his Holden on is Queensland Raceway – a purpose-built race track that’s a far cry from the streets of Adelaide.

He added: “It’s a little nerve-racking. It’s something very alien to me racing a car let alone with walls each side of me and not something I’m completely natural with yet, but I do want to go out and enjoy it. I have a fair idea of what’s involved, but unfortunately nothing can really replicate what I’ll have to do when I get out there.”

When asked about his expectations for the weekend, Stoner was coy on making any bold predictions.

“I have no idea where we’re going to be running,” he said. “I first and foremost want to enjoy it, but, you know, I’m a competitive driver, I’ll still come out and we’ll see where our results end up. But at this point we have no real goals set, just to try and learn as much as we can, pick up what we can and see where we end up at the end of a weekend.

I’m not expecting too much too early. But the racing looks like a heck of a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt