Dale Wood will replace the GRM Volvo Polestar Racing-bound James Moffat at Nissan Motorsport for the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship season, it has been confirmed.
“We consider Dale to be a driver that hasn’t yet reached his potential and look forward to working with him to achieve that,” Nissan Motorsport co-owner and driver Rick Kelly said.
“He has the raw speed to be able to achieve results. After all, you don’t get a podium in this game, or qualify third at Bathurst [in 2014], by accident.
“When we signed James Moffat to our team at the start of 2012, it was a similar situation in that we saw him as a driver who, entering his third full-time season, had the potential to achieve strong results in the right environment.
“James went on to score his first podium and win, his first pole position and his first Bathurst 1000 podium with our team. We believe that the same opportunity and potential now lies ahead of Dale as he enters what will be his third full-time season in the V8 Supercars Championship.”
The 32-year-old made his full-time championship debut in 2014 with Brad Jones Racing – earning a podium finish at Winton in his debut season – and remained with the outfit for 2015.
Despite failing to repeat a visit to the rostrum this year – he currently lies 21st overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings, with a best finish of eighth place at Hidden Valley – Wood has landed a factory Nissan drive and will pilot the #99 Altima next year.
Wood has previously driven for the outfit under Nissan Motorsport’s former Kelly Racing guise, driving for the first half of the season in 2009 before securing a co-driver role with the team the following year.
Moffat’s early exit from the team was on the basis that the four-car Nissan Motorsports team – which fields brothers Rick and Todd Kelly alongside NISMO-backed Michael Caruso – needed a well-sponsored driver to shore up its budget for 2016.
Wood will bring the commercial support of long-time backers GB Galvanising and Advam as part of his signing to the team.
Wood’s appointment – which was widely expected among V8 Supercars insiders – now means that there are just three seats on next year’s grid that are still up for grabs.
|2016 V8 Supercars Championship – Provisional Driver Line-ups|
|#||Team / Entry||Driver||Notes|
|2.||Red Bull Racing Australia||Garth Tander|
|3.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Tim Blanchard^|
|4.||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh|
|5.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Mark Winterbottom|
|6.||Prodrive Racing Australia||Chaz Mostert|
|7.||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly|
|8.||Brad Jones Racing||Jason Bright|
|9.||Erebus Motorsport V8||David Reynolds||Moving from Rod Nash Racing|
|12.||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Moving from Brad Jones Racing|
|14.||Brad Jones Racing||Tim Slade*||Moving from Walkinshaw Racing|
|15.||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly|
|17.||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye|
|18.||Charlie Schwerkolt Racing||Lee Holdsworth|
|21.||Brad Jones Racing||TBA|
|22.||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney|
|23.||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso|
|33.||Volvo Polestar Racing||Scott McLaughlin|
|34.||Volvo Polestar Racing||James Moffat||Moving from Nissan Motorsport|
|55.||Rod Nash Racing||Cameron Waters*||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|88.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Jamie Whincup|
|97.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Shane van Gisbergen||Moving from TEKNO Autosports|
|99.||Nissan Motorsport||Dale Wood||Moving from Brad Jones Racing|
|111.||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither^|
|222.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Nick Percat|
|888.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Craig Lowndes|
|TBA.||TEKNO Autosports||Will Davison||Moving from Erebus Motorsport|
* Deal yet to be officially confirmed
^ Unconfirmed, but considered the favourite for the seat
Images via Motorsport.com