Further to the news that he was to join TeamVodafone at this week's Queensland Raceway test, reigning World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss has revealed that he is targeting a role in next season's two major V8 Supercar endurance races.
The Ducati favourite, who retired from two-wheeled competition at the end of 2008 with three WSBK titles under his belt, will suit up for an official driver evaluation day with defending V8 champions TeamVodafone in May, but admits that his long-held passion for car racing has led him to pursue a more regular involvement with the category.
The driver evaluation day, to be held on 14 May, will provide the Australian with as much a comprehensive introduction to the TeamVodafone Ford Falcon and its inner workings as it will the chance to prove himself on track.
“I am really excited about this test,'' Bayliss admitted, ''I have openly said for quite a while that I viewed V8 Supercars as the next step in my motorsport career - and this is not something I am looking at trying once just to experience it, My long-term goal is to compete in select Fujitsu races and shoot for an endurance seat in 2010.”
The former Ducati MotoGP ace admitted that he could not have found a better partner for his introduction to V8 racing than Team Vodafone, which claimed the 2008 team and individual titles thanks to the efforts of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup.
“I have always been associated with the best equipment on track so, when I made the decision to retire from World Superbikes, I met with my manager about trying to align me with the best possible team in V8 Supercars,'' he acknowledged, “There was one big added bonus with TeamVodafone, as Roland Dane is a massive Ducati fan and, of course, that sits well with me.
“At least, this way, I will know I am in the best possible gear to give the best possible performance and this way I am not wasting anyone's time. I know, at nearly 40, I am never going to win the championship, but I am still at peak fitness and, if I can adapt well enough to the car, then I have the potential to be a good endurance driver.''
Bayliss also sprang the surprise of revealing that he was also 'in discussion about doing a number of races with Audi in Europe', although he refused to go into any more detail.
“Whatever happens, I will need to be able to make 100 per cent commitment to it,'' he said of his potential career change, ''My two-wheel career ended like a fairytale and I certainly don't want anything in the future to take the shine off that.”