Daniel Ricciardo has his eyes firmly set on an F1 world championship but the lure of venturing outside his comfort zone into other racing categories certainly appeals to him.
The Aussie driver has flagged his desire to dip his toes into the IndyCar series and Supercars, if not competing in them directly, then at least trying out the different cars and tracks.
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Ricciardo’s team McLaren, who he joined this year after a tumultuous two-year stint at Renault, is involved in IndyCar while his new boss Zak Brown has links to Supercars through his role as part-owner of the Walkinshaw Andretti United (WAU) outfit.
WAU has previously thrown wildcard entires into the most iconic Supercars race in Australia, the Bathurst 1000, and McLaren has also raced cars in IndyCar.
Making the move to the Woking-based team means Ricciardo is in prime position to experiment outside of F1, if the schedule allows for it, and the Honey Badger is keen to see what else is out there.
“I do have to ask Zak. I need to — even if I don’t do the race — I need to drive a Supercar around Bathurst,” Ricciardo said in an interview with GP Racing magazine.
“Whether it’s a private test, or the actual race, I do need to do it. And I think now I have a good opportunity with Zak as a friend and a boss.
“He’s keen to try and get us into the other open-wheelers in the States, the IndyCars. So there’s a lot to do.”
A start in this year’s Bathurst 1000 would be extremely unlikely given it’s on the same weekend in October as the Japanese Grand Prix. The Bathurst 12 Hour — which sees GT vehicles race around the iconic track for, you guessed it, 12 hours — looms as a more viable option next year, as it normally takes place in early February.
“When I signed with him (Brown), over the early phase of last year, we had these conversations and it was thrown in there, ‘We should get you to do the 12 Hours of Bathurst’,” Ricciardo told GP Racing.
“If he asked me and it worked logistically, I would say yes.”
Ricciardo is enjoying life at McLaren, setting the pace in early sessions at pre-season testing and finishing seventh in the Bahrain GP, despite suffering damage to his car during the race.
Former F1 driver turned respected broadcaster and analyst Martin Brundle believes Ricciardo can enjoy success at McLaren if he’s prepared to stay patient.
“I do believe if he’s got the patience, and they’ve got the patience, if he sticks with McLaren, that can take him back to the front of the field,” Brundle told the In The Fast Lane podcast.
“McLaren have signed off a new wind tunnel (but) they currently use the Toyota one in Cologne and, with COVID, they’ve not been able to use that much either.
“So, I think he’s going to have to be patient there, because the fruits of this new wind tunnel are not going to come through for two to three years, and I think he’s got that with them.”