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Bathurst-winning engineer eager for Stanaway mission

ALISTAIR McVean is excited about the challenge of unlocking the best from enigmatic talent Richie Stanaway at Grove Racing.

Last month’s Adelaide 500 marked the end of the road for the long and fruitful partnership between McVean and David Reynolds, finishing on a high with podiums in each of the final four races of the 2023 season.

McVean admitted it was an emotional occasion – as was the thrilling win he’d urged Reynolds on for at the Gold Coast 500.

“I’ve had a great seven years with him,” McVean told V8 Sleuth.

“We’ve won a lot of races. We’ve had some ups, had some downs.

“He’s a fantastic person to spend time with, so I have really enjoyed being around him for so long.”

Alistair McVean (left) with Grove Racing technical director Grant McPherson and team principal David Cauchi. Pic: Ross Gibb

The Braeside squad has blossomed into a lingering powerhouse, a journey McVean has been part of for the entire three years since the Groves bought in.

“Coming from where we came from, (both cars on) the back row of the grid at Darwin in 2021 to be where we are now makes me very proud of the guys that are here,” he said.

Next year, Reynolds will head to Team 18. In his place at Groves will be Stanaway, who has now conquered both the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000, forming an all-Kiwi line-up with last-start winner Matt Payne.

It’s Stanaway’s first full Supercars season since 2019.

“He is super, super motivated, he is keen as beans to get involved and wants to cover every base, dot every ‘i’, cross every ‘t’,” said McVean.

“He knows that this is his chance and that he has got to make the absolute most of it.

“That’s exciting for me, because I know he is going to do everything he possibly can to get the most out of himself and as an engineer, that’s all you want.”

Stanaway and McVean have already got to work on building their relationship.

“Basically as soon as Bathurst finished, I have been speaking with him a fair bit and have met in person a few times,” said McVean.

“Obviously we had the rookie day (at Winton in November) where he did 10 laps, that was really critical, just to see how he basically wants to try to drive the car and understand what he is going to be looking for, and for him just to feel what his ergonomics are going to be like, what his new home is like.

“That’s a huge step forward for us for next year, so I think we can hit the ground running relatively well.”

Stanaway is racing with Stephen and Brenton Grove in this weekend’s Gulf 12 Hours at Abu Dhabi.

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