Dale Wood has been confirmed to partner Rick Kelly in this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 which, this year, also marks the finale of the truncated 2020 season.
The duo will share the #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang with Wood expected to undergo two weeks mandatory managed isolation before linking up with Kelly for the event.
A veteran of 13 Bathurst starts and his fourth with Kelly Racing, the former full-timer admits he is excited to get back behind the wheel and he doesn’t anticipate having any difficulties getting up to speed.
“Us guys from Victoria have been sitting around for a long time now not being able to do our sport so for us we’re chomping at the bit to get to Bathurst,” said Wood.
“It’ll be different how that looks with preparation leading into the event. In the past we’ve spent three days at the workshop practising pit stops and driver changes and all of that stuff for Bathurst, plus the co-driver sessions at the lead up events.
“It’s going to build some extra excitement leading into Bathurst because we just haven’t been able to do the sport that we love doing.
“I feel like the time out of racing won’t be an issue at all.
“The biggest challenge for me will just be getting to terms with the Mustang. I was comfortable in the car last year, so there will be a small adjustment to that, but the main thing will be not getting to do our usual build-up of preparation.”
A two-time winner of the Great Race, Kelly added his praise for Wood who he only partnered for the first time last year.
“Myself and Dale are good mates away from racing so last year we didn’t quite know how we’d work together in a racing sense but it turned out really well,” said Kelly.
“His match fitness and engineering understanding were outstanding. He was able to actually provide a lot of feedback on the set-up during his practice sessions, which was a big advantage and in a lot of those sessions he was the quickest co-driver out there.
“So no doubt he’s one of the best guys out there for this job and with the Castrol Mustang this year I think we’ll be even quicker as a team and hopefully have some good results.”
The sister Kelly Racing Mustang of Andre Heimgartner is yet to seal a co-driver for the sole enduro of the year. Last year, the Kiwi was paired with Bryce Fullwood who made the transition to a full-time role with Walkinshaw Andretti United for 2020.
This year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 has been postponed a week amid a final calendar reshuffle and will take place on October 15-18.