Alexandre Prémat’s time as a V8 Supercars driver could be coming to an end.
The Frenchman today announced that he will part ways with the Garry Rogers Motorsport squad despite having one more year to run on his contract.
The former DTM racer and open-wheel racewinner has spent the last two seasons driving for GRM, and while he has shown improved consistency in his sophomore year racing ‘Down Under’, his future at the team has been the subject of speculation for months.
The team is weeks away from finishing its transition into Volvo Polestar Racing, where it will run a pair of purposebuilt S60 racers, one of which will be piloted by rising star Scott McLaughlin, who made his full-time debut in the championship with GRM in 2013.
McLaughlin’s re-signing for the 2014 season was confirmed well before the Volvo deal was finalised, but the subsequent buyout placed Prémat under considerable pressure, with Polestar known to be keen to place once of its Scandinavian racers in the second S60.
But perhaps he has now come to the realisation that there is little point in staying in a team where he clearly not wanted, irrespective of how watertight his deal might be.
His split with GRM was announced on the team’s Facebook page today, with Prémat writing: “After examining my driving options both here and overseas and having had discussions with Garry I have decided to explore other avenues and I have informed Garry that I will not be driving for GRM in season 2014.”
Quite where Prémat may land up in 2014 remains to be seen. There are a further seven seats on the V8 Supercars grid that are still theoretically up for grabs, although the likelihood of the series fielding its traditional 28-car grid remains very much in doubt.
GRM did not take the opportunity to indicate who will take over Prémat’s now-vacant seat, although popular speculation suggests that Volvo’s former World Touring Car Championship stalwart Robert Dahlgren is in pole position.
An announcement regarding its driver selection and further sponsorship deals is expected in the coming days, if not weeks.