TRIPLE Eight boss Roland Dane is adamant Russell Ingall will be up to the task required in this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000, likening the 57-year-old’s role to that once filled by legend Jim Richards.
Two-time Bathurst winner Ingall is making his Bathurst comeback in a Triple Eight wildcard as co-driver to 18-year-old Broc Feeney, who competes for the team in Super2.
Richards became the oldest driver to win the ‘Great Race’ when he partnered Mark Skaife at the Holden Racing Team in 2002, scoring a seventh Bathurst victory at 55 years of age.
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Ingall finished second that day sharing a Castrol Perkins Commodore with Jim’s son Steven, while Feeney was born five days later!
The age gap between Ingall and Feeney will be the biggest between co-drivers in the race’s Supercars era; a marker currently recorded by Jim Richards and Ryan Briscoe in 2006.
Ingall hasn’t raced a Supercar for five years and is expecting plenty to doubt his ability to be on the pace, but Dane is confident the veteran is capable of performing well in a back-up role.
“I think he can still do a great job as the anchor point in the team, a little bit like Jimmy Richards in the early 2000s with Mark Skaife,” Dane told V8 Sleuth of Ingall.
“That’s a good example, a similar age, plenty of experience, has won it before, knows how to win it, knows how to keep a car in good condition and give it to the fast bloke.
“Honestly, I don’t feel it’s an issue otherwise we wouldn’t have done it. He’ll be able to do what we need and will have plenty of time to get up to the level over the testing cycle.”
Ingall and Feeney’s preparation for Bathurst will officially kick-off this Saturday night when they share a Hyundai Excel at Sydney Motorsport Park.
They will compete in a 90-minute endurance race under lights as part of round two of the Motor Racing Australia State Championships.
“I am happy to drive anything I can get my hands on and the Hyundai Excel is a cool little thing,” said Ingall.
“I have done a few testing laps this week and enjoyed it and cannot wait to get out there in anger tomorrow night under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“As I said on Wednesday, Broc and I will be doing everything we can to ensure we are as competitive as possible at Bathurst and give the fans something to cheer about.”
Ingall is expected to contest a variety of races across the next six months as part of his preparation but will have just three days of testing aboard the actual Supercar under the category’s strict rules.