Dick Johnson Racing has confirmed one of its drivers for the 2013 V8 Supercars season, with the Queensland-based outfit announcing it has secured Tim Blanchard’s services for the upcoming season.
The financially-embattled team has been the subject of much speculation during the off-season. After another poor campaign, the team lost two of its entries to rival outfits and all of its major sponsors. A major managerial reshuffle has not yet given the team the financial security it had hoped for.
Nonetheless, the signing of Blanchard should be seen as a positive step, although it is not yet known whether the 25-year-old will drive the team’s #12 entry (leased to it by Dean Fiore’s Triple F Racing concern) or the #17 entry it owns.
Blanchard arrives to the team with some pedigree, having finished runner-up in the British Formula Ford championship in 2008, and finishing runner-up in the V8 Development Series title standings two years later.
He has served as an endurance driver in the main championship, driving for the Kelly Racing team for the past two years at Sandown and Bathurst. He also stood in for the team as a replacement for injured driver Todd Kelly while he recuperated from shoulder surgery in the latter stages of the 2012 season.
“With the engineering package provided to us by FPR, our two Ford Falcons will be competitive as any out there. I’m looking forward to seeing Tim give it a good shakedown tomorrow [at the Sydney Motorsport Park test session]. He is an exciting young driver and with him on board, we can start to look to the future of DJR and not get a sore neck by looking back,” team owner Dick Johnson said.
Blanchard’s signing leaves just two possible vacancies on the 2013 grid. DJR is still yet to confirm who will partner Blanchard, and the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team is yet to reveal who will drive its second #88 Holden entry alongside V8 rookie Scott Pye.
Dean Fiore – who drove for DJR last year – is believed to be likely to join LDM, leaving Steven Johnson as a reasonable certainty to keep his drive with his father’s team, assuming a driver with better funding doesn’t come knocking…
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