V8 Supercars drivers Greg Murphy and Dean Fiore will be both be remaining in the championship paddock next year, with Murphy re-signing with Kelly Racing and Fiore joining an expanded Dick Johnson Racing operation.
Former series champion Murphy will team up once again with lead sponsors Pepsi to continue his involvement with the Kelly Racing stable, it was announced today on the eve of this weekend’s season finale, the Telstra Sydney 500.
The New Zealander currently lies thirteenth in the championship standings, with his season highlight being pole position and a podium finish in his Pepsi Max Crew Holden at the Bathurst 1000, co-driving with Danish driver Alan Simonsen.
“We’ve made significant progress in 2011 and I’m thrilled to be re-signing with one of the most exciting and daring teams in the V8 Supercar series,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dean Fiore will close down his single-car Triple F Racing operation and merge with Dick Johnson Racing, which will expand to a three-car operation next year, which will run Fiore alongside its incumbent drivers, Steven Johnson and rookie James Moffat.
It is believed that Moffat’s Ford will run in Norton 360 colours, while Johnson and Fiore will run the traditional Jim Beam sponsorship the team has carried for the past five years. The drinks company has confirmed that it has extended its naming rights deal with the team for another season, as well as continuing its tie-in as the official ‘Spirit Sponsor’ of the V8 Supercars Championship.
“Running a team and having to find sponsors created a lot of pressure, which meant I couldn’t focus purely on my racing,” Fiore has said of the announcement.
“Jim Beam Racing has a great team behind them and I’m really looking forward to working with them next year and being able to drive alongside Steve. The pressure of running a team is off me now, and I can concentrate on driving.”
“We’re thrilled to know we have the support from Jim Beam as we’ve worked so closely with them over the years,” added team owner Dick Johnson.
“We know our fans and our ‘Team Mates’ will be as excited as us about next season, and to have Dean Fiore as part of the Jim Beam Racing set up in 2012 adds even more anticipation.”
[Images via LAT and Triple F Racing]