Walkinshaw Andretti United has ruled out fielding a wildcard entry in this year's Repco Bathurst 1000.
The Clayton-based team had been investigating the prospect of adding a third Ford Mustang for the 2023 enduros, but has now confirmed that the programme is off.
Warren Luff remains in the WAU fold but could now be loaned to another team for September's Sandown 500 and the Great Race in October.
He had been re-signed despite the return of Lee Holdsworth and retention of Fabian Coulthard as enduro drivers, with those two to partner Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat respectively.
“The Team had investigated the opportunity, which included retaining Warren Luff as a driver for 2023, but ultimately, the costs associated with bringing the programme to life were untenable in the current climate.
“From there, the team's first priority was to ensure that Luff was able to find an endurance drive.
“Luff will still remain with the team in his role as Driver Development Advisor in the Walkinshaw Andretti United Super2 Programme.”
Team Principal Bruce Stewart said, via that statement, “We were really keen to run a wildcard entry this year at Sandown and Bathurst, but ultimately, with all that has occurred with Gen3 and the costs associated, it unfortunately wasn't feasible.
“As soon as we made the decision not to progress, our first priority was ensuring that Luffy was on the grid this year, because it's where he belongs.
“It's disappointing not to bring it to life, Luffy was retained with us for a reason, but it's something no doubt we will look to do in the future.”
WAU won the Bathurst 1000 in 2021 courtesy of Mostert and Holdsworth, before Mostert and Fabian Coulthard finished second last year in the #25 Mobil 1 Optus entry.
With three enduro drivers on its books, Ryan Walkinshaw advised last month that a wildcard was a prospect.
“There's definitely an opportunity there. Luffy's been retained by the team as an option for a wildcard,” he told select media, including Speedcafe, at Albert Park.
“We do have an asset there with good local knowledge; he's been on the podium a thousand times there.
“So if we can find a good, exciting driver to go with him, it's something we'll consider.
“It's not the top priority at the moment for the team, but it's something we'll start to investigate further throughout the season.”
Luff's six podiums in the Bathurst 1000 are the equal-greatest haul of any driver who is yet to win the race, with four of those coming since he joined WAU in 2014.
As it stands, there are 11 full-time entries without confirmed co-drivers, being the four at Brad Jones Racing, both at Matt Stone Racing, both at Team 18, both at PremiAir Racing, and also Blanchard Racing Team.