The Dick Johnson Racing team has moved quickly to announce the identities of the co-drivers it will field in its four-car operation at the upcoming Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 endurance events, as well as the international co-drivers who will compete at the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600.
The endurance races will see Danish racer Allan Simonsen (partnering Steven Johnson), ex-V8 racer Alex Davison (James Moffat), GT1 pilot Matt Halliday (Dean Fiore) and Paul Morris (Steve Owen) serve as co-drivers for the races at Sandown Raceway and Mount Panorama in September and October, respectively.
The team has also secured the services of two former F1 drivers, Gianni Morbidelli and Max Papis, to compete at the Gold Coast event, which pairs the series regulars with international category drivers from other championships. Morbidelli will partner Fiore, while Papis will co-drive with Johnson.
This will be Morbidelli’s third appearance at the Surfers Paradise street race and the third time he’s teamed up with Fiore – the pair has driven together at each event when Fiore was running under his own Triple F Racing entry.
Former CART racer Papis – who briefly drove in F1 in 1995 with Footwork (ironically replacing Morbidelli) – will have his first competitive outing in V8 Supercars. Late last year, there had been rumours that the Italian was targeting a permanent switch to the series after he tested with the TOLL Holden Racing Team during the 2011 off-season.
The two other international class drivers the team will run will be NASCAR racer Boris Said (who again partners Steve Owen after doing the same last year) and Dutch GT1 racer Peter Kox, who will co-drive with James Moffat.
“This year we needed to source eight co-drivers to team up with our regular season drivers,” said DJR team owner Dick Johnson.
“We were pleased that many of the internationally acclaimed drivers agreed to come back and race with us again.
“With a team the size ours, it was important we found drivers who were of an exceptional standard but who also fitted with our team dynamic. They need to hit the ground running and fit in quickly in October and the group we have found, we believe, due to their experience and professionalism, will be excellent additions to the DJR team.”