The Enforcer has agreed to make a sensational comeback at this year’s Great Race, partnering teenager Broc Feeney in a Triple Eight-run wildcard entry.
At 57 years of age he’ll be vying to be the oldest winner in Bathurst 1000 history.
This will be Ingall’s 25th appearance at the Great Race, his tally including wins in 1995 and 1997, however he hasn’t raced at Mount Panorama in a Supercar since back in 2016.
That last start came as a Nissan Motorsport endurance driver alongside Rick Kelly, two years after Ingall has retired as a Supercars full-timer.
Since then he’s only made sporadic appearances on track, including a Bathurst 12 Hour outing in a BMW in 2017, a handful of Stadium Super Truck drives and a partial TCR Australia programme in 2019.
While he’s not expecting a lack of seat time to affect his speed, Ingall claiming he has “no reservations about myself as far as performing on the track”, the veteran is wary of the stern test of his physical fitness that awaits.
On the advice of reigning Bathurst Triple Crown winner Shane van Gisbergen, Ingall is already back in the gym and working with a trainer to help prepare for sprint-race pace now common across the 1000 kilometres of racing.
“I thought I’d never see another gym again,” said Ingall at today’s announcement.
“It’s back in the gym. Julie, my wife, is happy about because she reckons I’m going to look a lot better in six months time, so we’ve got one fan already.
“I’ve got no reservations about myself as far as performing on the track, but I spoke to Shane van Gisbergen not too long ago and he said ‘hey, get ready, you’ve got to be physically fit because the pace is so fast at Bathurst [and] it’s very demanding physically inside the car’. He said ‘you better jump back in the gym’.
“That’s exactly what I’m doing, I’ve just put a trainer on so we’re back pounding the pavement, pounding the gym, pounding those weights. We’ll get these guns happening again and we’ll be right come October.”
Ingall added that he expects to cop a bit of flack from the “keyboard warriors” in the wake of today’s announcement.
“Look, it’s a little bit out there,” he said.
“Everybody is going to have a bit of an opinion on this, both good and bad. But do you know what? That’s what motorsport is about, having an opinion.
“This is going to be pretty controversial once it gets out there among the fan base and the keyboard warriors will go hard, but I think that’s the beauty of the whole programme that Supercheap Auto and Triple Eight have put together. It’s got the dynamics of appealing to both the young up-and-coming audience that follow motorsport and Supercars, as well as the old boys – the Grey Army.
“This is about supporting youth and supporting Broc Feeney. At the end of the day he’s vying for a job in that Jamie Whincup retirement, that’s what he’s looking at. If I can support that, man, that’d be a good outcome.”