Photo: Supercars

Veteran driver Steven Richards retires from Supercars racing

Steven Richards has called time on his Supercars Championship career after making his first start in the category back in 1995, notching up five Bathurst 1000 victories in the process and twelve wins in total.

The son of seven-time Bathurst winner and four times series champion Jim Richards, Steven made his Supercars debut under the Australian Touring Car Championship banner in 1995 as a co-driver to Anders Olofsson at the Bathurst 1000.

In his 20+ years in the sport, the highlights include his five victories at Mount Panorama with Jason Bright (1998), Greg Murphy (1999), Mark Winterbottom (2013) and Craig Lowndes (2015, 2018), becoming one of very few drivers to win in both a Holden and Ford as well as the only one to so in consecutive years.

After he teamed up with Winterbottom in this year’s Enduro Cup for Team 18, Richards announced his time in the category was up, instead remaining in Charlie Schwerkolt’s squad as a relationship manager between his former co-driver and the incoming Scott Pye.

“I’ve been in discussion with Charlie and the team regarding an active role for some time,” Richards said.

“It’s an exciting time at Team 18 and now is the right time to make this decision.

“I’ll be able to utilise my experience to assist Charlie and the team drive success both on and off the track and work closely with the incredible team partnerships that have been established.

“I’ve had a fantastic career in Supercars, winning races, competing for championships, and driving with the best teams and drivers in the most competitive touring car championship in the world.

“While I close the door on Supercars I’ll still have some flexibility to continue driving in other categories.”

Team owner Schwerkolt says that while it’s sad that Richards will be stepping down as a driver, his position within Team 18 will be invaluable as they expand to a two car operation from 2020.

“Really sad day for us to announce Richo is hanging up the helmet on his Supercars career, but his move into the management and commercial side of Team 18 will be great future proofing for the team,” Schwerkolt said.

“We have been chatting about this for a while when Richo first joined the team at the start of the year, but now with the expansion to a two-car operation, the role has really progressed into a full time role.

“Richo has extensive motorsport knowledge and is a massive get for our team to have someone of his calibre that can guide and assist all Team 18 properties. Really really proud to have him on board!”

Richards and Winterbottom finished sixth in this year’s Bathurst 1000, a best result for Team 18 since the team’s inception in 2016.