David Reynolds’ uncertain future in the V8 Supercars Championship has been confirmed, after it was announced that the championship contender will join the Erebus Motorsport V8 team for the 2016 season.
Reynolds will drive alongside Ash Walsh, who will remain with the squad for a second season.
“David is an exciting driver that has proven himself to be a title threat this year,” Erebus Motorsport V8 owner Betty Klimenko said of her latest signing.
“As we embark on our fourth season, we needed to sign a driver that’s capable of positioning our cars up the front and David has proven he is capable of doing that.
“I have known David for almost 10 years and knew one day I would have him drive for me.”
The news came just an hour after current employer Prodrive Racing Australia confirmed that it had not taken up an option on his services after four years with the squad.
“Although I have had a terrific four years at Prodrive Racing Australia, I am looking forward to a positive change as the lead driver with Erebus,” Reynolds said.
“I am really looking forward to working with the Erebus team. Together we have some amazing strengths that we need to harness and I know we can win.”
The 30-year-old will drive the Erebus Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG in place of Will Davison, who confirmed he and the team had mutually agreed to end a multi-million-dollar four-year contract after just two seasons together. Davison will join the TEKNO Autosport team in place of Shane van Gisbergen, who moves to an expanded three-car Triple Eight Race Engineering operation.
Reynolds’ position at Prodrive Racing has been under a cloud for much of the 2015 season, triggered by team principal Tim Edwards stating that the sometimes-mercurial driver would have to show a significant improvement in form to have any hope of retaining his drive with the outfit.
Reynolds seemingly responded by enjoying a remarkably consistent season. After switching to the newer-model Ford Falcon FG X at Symmons Plains, he has only twice finished outside the top-ten, achieving one race win and a further three podium finishes to lie third in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
There have, however, been some dark clouds over the season as well. Known for being a straight shooter with the media, Reynolds took it one step too far during the build-up to the Bathurst 1000 and was fined $10,000 for bringing the sport into disrepute when he described the all-female wildcard entry driven by Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie (which was being run by Prodrive) as “a p*ssy wagon”.
The timing could not have been worse while he was in the midst of renegotiating a contract extension with the team, and Prodrive elected to delay negotiations, which ultimately forced Reynolds’ hand to seek a release to be a ‘free agent’.
By that stage Reynolds had already knocked back two offers from Brad Jones Racing to replace Fabian Coulthard, who is heading to the DJR Team Penske outfit next season. That seat is expected to go to Tim Slade, who is currently driving for Walkinshaw Performance Racing.
Images via Erebus Motorsport V8 and Motorsport.com