Photo: Supercars

Richie Stanaway announces retirement from motorsport

New Zealand will be without one of its stars on a grid in motorsport next year with 28-year-old Richie Stanaway taking to Instagram to announce his retirement from racing.

The young gun was a former winner in GP3 and GP2 before returning to Australaisa to compete in the Supercars Championship, winning the 2017 Sandown 500 as a co-driver to Cam Waters at Tickford Racing before making his full-time debut last year.

Two tough years in the category were highlighted this year by the reaggravation of an old neck injury sustained through a Formula Renault 3.5 crash at Spa-Francorchamps in 2012.

Starting his last race for Garry Rogers Motorsport today, also the team’s last in Supercars after a 24 year tenure, Stanaway used social media after the race to announce he was calling it quits as a professional racing driver.

“After 23 years of strapping the helmet on I feel like it’s time to finally call it a day,” Stanaway wrote.

“I never would have predicted my racing career to be so short and it’s not a decision that I’ve taken lightly but it is what it is.

“I got further than I could have ever imagined I would and I can’t thank everyone enough that has been a part of the journey. Time to start a new chapter.”

Stanaway was a divisive character in the Supercars paddock, being polarising for fans after he acted out at Tickford Racing in his debut season of 2018 and was stood aside in the second race of this year’s Gold Coast 600 due to missing an autograph session.

Speaking to Supercars, Stanaway said it’s a contributing factor in his decision to walk away from the sport.

“Anyone that knows me personally knows I’m heavily introverted so I stick to myself, I’m a shy person and it comes across the wrong way to a lot of people,” he said.

“That’s a big part of it. Perception is reality at the end of the day and people just make up their own ideas of who someone is or whatever.

“It’s the same in any sport though, it’s just a common trend across the whole internet really, it’s a very volatile place and our championship is no different.

“I don’t think it’s had a massive effect but it definitely hasn’t helped the situation. It’s just not something I need in my life.”