Fabian Coulthard’s whereabouts on the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship grid have now been confirmed, with the New Zealander announced as the newest signing for the DJR Team Penske team.
The Queensland-based outfit – the longest-serving team in the Australian touring car championship’s history – will run two Ford Falcon FG X cars next year, keeping incumbent driver Scott Pye on board.
Following news of Coulthard’s impending departure from Brad Jones Racing, with whom he has raced for the last four years, his move to DJRTP has been widely expected by many paddock insiders. His signing is expected to trigger a number of driver movements between teams as the 2015 season draws to a close.
“I’m excited about 2016 and coming aboard at DJR Team Penske,” Coulthard said of his appointment.
“The chance to race for two motorsport legends like Dick Johnson and Roger Penske is just a special opportunity. I’m looking forward to next season and helping the team grow and race at the front of the field.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to continue racing for Dick [Johnson] and Roger [Penske] again in 2016,” added Pye.
“This year has had some ups and downs, but we have been moving in the right direction. Expanding to two cars with Fabian is incredibly exciting. He’s a hard-nosed racer and together we want to build DJR Team Penske into a [championship] contender.”
With the impressive Pye remaining on board as well, the team will expand to two cars by reabsorbing its second Racing Entitlements Contract currently being leased to the new Super Black Racing outfit.
“Expanding to two cars has always been a priority of ours and with Fabian on board, gives us the opportunity to add another car capable of running at the front,” Team Penske president Tim Cindric added.
The announcement confirms speculation that the team’s originally-signed driver, Marcos Ambrose, won’t be returning to the cockpit on a full-time basis. The Tasmanian made a high-profile return to the championship after ten years spent racing in the NASCAR series’, but made the shock decision to step back just three races into his comeback.
DJRTP’s expansion to a two-car line-up leaves Super Black Racing in the lurch; the series’ sole New Zealand-based team will now have to lease another REC or buy one outright in order to guarantee its place on the 2016 grid.
Image via DJR Team Penske