Stoner had long been thought to be considering a foray into V8 Supercars after testing a Triple Eight Commodore in December 2011, and his public presence in the team’s garage at several subsequent rounds.
These rumours intensified when Stoner announced his surprise retirement from MotoGP in May last year, leaving his plans for 2013 unconfirmed until this week.
Stoner’s Dunlop Series entry will be his first time competing on four wheels, and will compete in all seven rounds of the V8 Supercars Championship development category.
“We will be trying to learn and develop as quickly as we can and see what that brings,” Stoner said.
Stoner is not the first Australian motorcycle champion to make the switch to four-wheeled competition, with Wayne Gardner and the late Gregg Hansford achieving mixed results in the premier touring car category in the 1990s.
Gardner finished third in the Bathurst 1000 twice and Hansford won alongside Larry Perkins in 1993, and Stoner has hinted at his desire to contest the historic race.
“I doubt anyone would want me at Bathurst (1000), but I am not ruling it out,” Stoner told The Sunday Telegraph. “It is every Aussie’s dream to drive there.”
Stoner’s commitment to the entire 2013 championship will see him racing in the Bathurst Dunlop Series round at least, but a co-driver seat in the 1000km race could yet materialise.
The 27 year-old’s Triple Eight-built VE Commodore will wear his characteristic 27 race number, and its Pirtek/RedBull livery is set to be revealed on February 27.
Pirtek's association with the team continues an ongoing run of Australian motorsport involvement'
“We enjoyed some tremendous success through our years with Stone Brothers Racing and it is great to be back in the sport with such a program," Pirtek's Stephen Dutton said.
“Obviously the highlight of our time with SBR was winning Bathurst in 1998 with Jason Bright and Steve Richards and then two great championships with Marcos (Ambrose) and then a third with Russell (Ingall) as a co-sponsor.
Stoner’s first Dunlop Series race will follow on February 29, coinciding with the Adelaide opening round of the 2013 V8 Supercar Championship.
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