McLaren boss Zak Brown has made the stunning admission that he’s open to Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris competing at the Bathurst 1000.
Australian driver Ricciardo will leave Renault and race for McLaren in 2021 and beyond.
The 30-year-old, winner of seven races for Red Bull, will partner British driver Norris and replaces Spaniard Carlos Sainz who will join Ferrari as four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel's replacement.
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Brown is part-owner of Walkinshaw Andretti United, who had a wildcard entry with IndyCar drivers Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe in the 2019 Bathurst 1000.
And the McLaren chief executive says he’d “love to see” something similar with Ricciardo and Norris.
Ricciardo and Norris have both had some experience driving a Supercar, and Brown says he’d be keen to get his drivers a start at Mount Panoroma should a wildcard spot be available.
“I think they’d both love to do it,” Brown said on Supercars Sidetracked.
“I think people now know I’m a little bit different than most of the team bosses in F1 as I like to see our drivers go out and give it a go at Daytona or Le Mans, things of that nature.
“I think it’ll just come down to schedule and whether they can fit it in the schedule.”
The Bathurst 1000 traditionally falls on the same weekend as the Japanese Grand Prix.
“That’s why I’m sometimes there, sometimes I’m not,” he said.
Ricciardo and Norris’ taste of Supercars
Ricciardo got a taste of driving a Supercar at last year’s Australian Grand Prix when he went for a spin in Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima.
He then said he’s a ‘50-50’ chance of trying his hand at Supercars at some stage of his career.
And Norris recently competed in the Supercars Eseries against a full field of current drivers, flagging his interest in making a real-world switch to the Aussie championship.
Brown said he’s let Ricciardo and Norris practice with his personal collection, which includes the Holden VE Commodore that Garth Tander and Nick Percat drove to win the 2011 Bathurst 1000.
“I’d love to see them do it there,” he said.
“Let’s see. For sure, they’ll get a go in my Holden.”
McLaren over the moon to snare Ricciardo
Needless to say, Brown is stoked to have signed Ricciardo from Renault.
“Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando,” he said recently.
Ricciardo took to Twitter to express his gratitude to Renault before insisting his focus is on the current season, which could start in July in Austria behind closed doors.
“I am so grateful for my time with @RenaultF1Team and the way I was accepted into the team,” he wrote.
“But we aren't done and I can't wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn't here yet, so let's finish this one strong. Merci.”
Renault issued a short statement saying discussions with Ricciardo over a renewal of his contract had not been successful.
They gave no indication of who might replace the popular Australian, although media speculation has suggested double world champion Fernando Alonso could make a comeback with the team that took him to his titles in 2005 and 2006.