V8 Supercars: Kiwi flag flying again

By Eric Thompson

The Ford Falcon Jonny Reid will drive in this year's V8 Supercars.
The Ford Falcon Jonny Reid will drive in this year's V8 Supercars.

Late last year it looked as though only one New Zealander, Fabian Coulthard, would be racing in the V8 Supercars.

Four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy was without a full-time seat and had been signed by the Holden Racing Team only as an endurance driver with Garth Tander.

Added to that, Shane van Gisbergen had become disenchanted with the category and left Stone Brothers Racing.

The first good news came through when it was announced that Gary Rogers Racing had signed 19-year-old Kiwi Scott McLaughlin for the main game after his wins in the Development Series and the inaugural New Zealand V8 SuperTourers series.

"It's great I can continue with my relationship with Fujitsu who have backed me since my karting days when I was 15," said McLaughlin.

"To be able to drive my first V8 Supercar season with them is a big thing for me.

"Seeing my name on the V8SC is really great and I have my crew to work with and I can't wait for the weekend."

Then not long after McLaughlin's announcement came news that after a couple of months back on Kiwi soil Van Gisbergen had his V8 mojo back and had signed with V8 Supercars team Tekno Autosport.

This weekend, Dick Johnson Racing announced former A1GP and Porsche Carrera Cup racer Kiwi Jonny Reid was also to join the main game.

Reid will join Tim Blanchard and pilot the Wilson Security-backed Falcon.

"I'm a very happy chap now that the deal has been signed off. I'm absolutely rapt," said Reid.

"I'm now really looking forward to the year and it's going to be bloody massive."

Dick Johnson Racing has had a rocky journey to the grid this year, and is a bit behind the eight ball with car build and preparation.

On top of that, Reid hasn't even sat in one yet with the engine running.

"I'll be able to snap into race mode straightaway despite it being the first time I will have been on a race track in the car," he said.

"It's right in at the deep end for race one, but it will give us a platform to build on for the rest of the season.

"I'm just delighted to be here and finally make the championship, something I've been working on since 2010."

Clipsal 500 fast facts

*Debut of all-new Car of the Future. This is the first time in Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars Championship history that an entire field of new cars will be making their racing debut on the one weekend.

*Two new manufacturers join the fray - four Nissan Altimas and three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs.

*It will be the first time since the final round of the 1980 ATCC that there has not been a member of the Johnson family competing in an ATCC/V8SC event.

*Four-time Clipsal 500 winner and reigning V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup has made the streets of Adelaide his second home.

*Craig Lowndes could create history this weekend. With 89 ATCC/V8SC race wins, he is one short of record-holder Mark Skaife.

*Only three drivers have competed in every Clipsal 500 since it was first held in 1999 - Russell Ingall, Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander.

*Greg Murphy's lack of a full-time drive this year means he will miss the event for the first time.

- NZ Herald

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