Dick Johnson has stated they intend to be on the grid next year with four cars, despite one of their Racing Entitlements Contracts (RECs) being sold on to Ford rival Ford Performance Racing for next season.
Last week the Prodrive-run Ford Performance Racing team confirmed that it will expand to four cars next year for the first time, after coming to an arrangement with Charlie Schwerkolt, the owner of the REC for #18, James Moffat’s entry at DJR.
“We are very pleased that Charlie has chosen FPR to run his entry from next season as not only is he a great friend of the team, it is well known we have a long-held desire to be a four car team,” said FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards.
“Regardless of the economic benefit of running four cars, rather than two or three, having an additional car from next season will be vital when it comes to collecting data on the new Car of the Future chassis,” he added.
Schwerkolt was a part-owner in DJR up until late 2010, when there was an acrimonious split in the team whilst they were enjoying one of their strongest seasons in recent years, with James Courtney leading and going on to win the drivers’ championship.
Schwerkolt left the team before the end of the season, but leased his REC (effectively a grid slot) back to Dick Johnson for two years, which has been run as the #18 entry for James Moffat, who replaced Courtney after his departure to Holden.
DJR doubled its presence on the grid for this season, running Dean Fiore and acquiring the Triple F team’s REC in the process to run Fiore in the second Jim Beam Racing entry, whilst also adding the REC of Paul Morris Motorsport for a fourth Ford Falcon FG for Steve Owen, who runs under the VIP Pet Foods Racing banner.
With the lease ending at the conclusion of the 2012 season, and now with the announcement that FPR will take over Schwerkolt’s REC leaving the DJR team with just three for next year, the team have put out a statement confirming their intentions to continue as a four car effort in 2013, which they can only do if they acquire another REC.
“We have known since the start of 2011 that one of the current Racing Entitlement Contracts, leased to DJR for 2011 and 2012 Seasons, would return to Charlie Schwerkolt at the end of this year,” said the statement.
“We continue to review our options for next year and beyond, but are intent on continuing to operate as a four-car team, based out of the Dick Johnson Racing Headquarters in Stapylton, Queensland.”
Team Principal Dick Johnson added:
“Against all the odds, we’ve been here for over 30 years and we intend to be here for a whole lot longer.”