Tim Blanchard will switch from Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport to Brad Jones Racing in next year’s V8 Supercars Championship season.
The news sees BJR’s line-up completed, with the three-car team announcing the signing of Blanchard alongside the retention of veteran driver Jason Bright; the duo will partner Tim Slade, who moves across from the Walkinshaw Racing stable in the off-season.
“I’m pretty excited to join Brad Jones Racing next year,” Blanchard said of his appointment.
“They are proven race winners and have a lot of history in racing. Jason [Bright] has extensive experience in the sport and I was a team-mate with Tim [Slade] in Formula Ford. I’ve got history with those guys and am looking forward to working with them again.
“Working in a family team environment will be great. I think it will be well suited to my personality and the way I like to go racing, I think it will work really well. We’ve got a long family history in motorsport; same as the Jones family so being associated with a family team is good.”
Blanchard will pilot the team’s #21 Holden Commodore currently being campaigned by Dale Wood, who will move across to the Nissan Motorsport squad in place of the Volvo-bound James Moffat.
Blanchard, 28, is currently contesting his second full-time season in the V8 Supercars Championship. He made his full-time top-tier debut with Dick Johnson Racing in 2013, but was not retained for the 2014 season.
He joined Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport as a Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver to Russell Ingall in 2014, performing impressively enough to be offered a full-time drive for the 2015 season. His best finish to-date was an eighth place at this year’s Sandown 500, with Karl Reindler as his co-driver.
Despite the absence of truly competitive results, Blanchard’s appointment at BJR will fill a sponsorship vacuum that will be left by the well-backed Wood when he moves to Nissan. Blanchard has the financial support of his family’s CoolDrive Distribution business, which he is expected bring as sponsorship as part of his contract.
Blanchard’s switch means that his former seat with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport is now the sole drive officially still to be finalised for the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship season.
Prodrive Racing protégé Cameron Waters is expected to fill the #55 Rod Nash Racing seat vacated by David Reynolds, while Ash Walsh’s future in the #4 Erebus Motorsport V8 entry remains under a cloud given he has been rested for the second round running at this weekend’s Sydney 500 finale.
|2016 V8 Supercars Championship – Provisional Driver Line-ups|
|#||Team / Entry||Driver||Notes|
|2.||Red Bull Racing Australia||Garth Tander|
|3.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||TBA|
|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||Tim Blanchard||Moving from LD Motorsport|
|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||Promoted from Dunlop Series|
|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
Images via Motorsport.com