Motorsport: Premat joins McLaughlin at DJR Team Penske

Shane Van Gisbergen and Alex Premat celebrate after winning the Pirtek Endurance Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Shane Van Gisbergen and Alex Premat celebrate after winning the Pirtek Endurance Cup. Photo / Getty Images

The latest big move of Supercars' Enduro Cup silly season has been confirmed with Alex Premat joining his old buddy Scott McLaughlin at DJR Team Penske.

Premat will pair with McLaughlin aboard the No. 17 Shell Ford, while Fabian Coulthard will be joined by Tony D'Alberto in the No. 12 Shell Ford at the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 events later this year.

The Frenchman's move rekindles a combination that dates back to 2013, when McLaughlin made his fulltime debut in the series at Garry Rogers Motorsport as Premat's teammate.

The pair raced as a pairing in 2014 and 2015 before Premat was snapped up by Red Bull to partner Shane van Gisbergen last year, the duo claiming the Enduro Cup crown with a win and three second placings across the four race mini-season.

"I am very excited to be joining the Shell V-Power Racing Team for 2017 and beyond, and also to be driving with Scott McLaughlin again," Premat said.

"Scott and I formed a close friendship when we were teammates, and enjoy working with one another so I am sure that it will be a very strong partnership.

"Many people doubted my credentials when I returned to Supercars racing last year, and I was able to prove them wrong with strong performances across all of the three endurance races.

"This year, with the Shell V-Power Racing Team, I will be looking to defend my Pirtek Enduro Cup title and take some more silverware home too."

McLaughlin said the man he affectionately calls 'Frenchy' was his No. 1 choice for a co-driver when he made the switch to DJR Team Penske for 2017.

"He and I know each other very well, get along brilliantly and know what the other is capable of, so we will look to be contenders in all three endurance races," McLaughlin said.

Ryan Story, DJR Team Penske managing director, said that the signing of Premat was a key piece of recruitment for the emerging outfit while retaining D'Alberto, who paired with Scott Pye at the team last year, was a simple decision.

"Alex is a proven performer, who last year demonstrated that when given quality equipment and a good team structure, he is as good as anyone out there," Story said.

"Tony is a guy that fits into our team really well, and is another proven performer with runs on the board. I'm very excited about our combinations for this year.

"With these combinations, and our strong engineering division led by Ludo Lacroix, I expect strong results from the team throughout the Pirtek Enduro Cup, and the entire 2017 season."

McLaughlin enjoyed his first drive of a DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon at a team ride day at Queensland Raceway on Tuesday.

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 30 Mar 2017 16:54:55 Processing Time: 362ms