Andrew Jones, David Besnard and Chris Pither have been confirmed as Brad Jones Racing's endurance co-drivers for the Sandown 500 and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Jones will again drive alongside Jason Bright in the Team BOC entry, while Besnard teams up with new BJR recruit, Fabian Coulthard in the Lockwood Racing entry.
Reigning Australian V8 Ute Racing Series Champion, Pither will partner David Wall in the Wilson Security Racing car.
The trio all took part in testing at Winton Motor Raceway earlier this week and team co-owner Kim Jones was very pleased to have secured the strong line-up.
“We've just completed our first test day with all the drivers and co-drivers and the feeling in our group was very positive,” said Jones.
“There are a couple of times where David Besnard has been on our short list but, for one reason or another, it hasn't happened. When he drives the race car, and it's been the same since he drove in go-karts, you know that there is absolutely nothing left on the table at the end of the day. I'm positive he will do a very good job.
“In terms of Andrew Jones, it's very hard to critique Andrew because he's my son and people think I can't be objective. Having said that, I'm sure that anybody in the industry would rate him as one of the best co-drivers in the country. There's no doubt in my mind about that and we're very lucky to have him.
“Finally, we've spoken to Chris a couple of times and to win an Australian championship, especially in that new category, you have to be half OK. He's dived into the V8s once or twice now as a co-driver and I think this is a big opportunity for him.”
Pither, who is racing this weekend at the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, is no stranger to V8 Supercars having competed in the Development Series and in the Main Series in the past. However, the return to Bathurst in October marks the end of a four-year absence in the V8 Supercars, after a huge practice session crash with the stationary Paul Weel on top of the Mountain in 2008.
“I've done a couple of V8 Supercar sprint rounds as well as the endurance rounds in '07 and '08 for PMM and Team Kiwi, but I've been out of it for a few years,” he said.
“I had a nasty accident in '08 and spent a few months out of the seat but now I'm looking forward to getting back into it.
“I am very happy with the way the test day went. Obviously driving a Supercar is a lot different from the Ute. I got bashed around a bit in the Ute category when I first entered the series because I was driving it too much like a Supercar. I had to adjust but I think I'll be fine getting back into the supercar; in fact I think it will be a relief.”
Andrew Jones, the 2004 Development Series champion, will combine his endurance duties with Team BOC with a full assault on this year’s Dunlop Series.
“I've never been in the situation I was last year before, where I wasn't sure whether I'd be driving with Brighty or not (because of Jason Richards' illness) and I'll never be in that situation again I hope,” said Jones, who finished fifth at Bathurst last with year Bright.
“Sharing a car with Brighty after his couple of wins was very enjoyable, especially at Bathurst where I felt like the whole team pulled together.
“We didn't really have the fastest car out there; we didn't even really have a car good enough to finish fifth, but that's where we finished and it was a true team effort.
“Brighty's pretty quiet so having 12 months under our belt is good. We've grown as a unit and we're ahead of where we were this time last year. Our relationship is a lot more open and productive.”
Besnard brings a huge amount of experience to Lockwood Racing, having driven full-time in the series for six years until 2006. Since then, he has been a much sought after co-driver, taking second place with James Courtney in the 2007 Bathurst 1000 and third place in 2008 while at Stone Brothers Racing. This was followed by stints at Garry Rogers Motorsport, Dick Johnson Racing and in 2011 at Jim Beam Racing, where a fiery crash at Bathurst on the Griffins Bend cut short his race.
“We've all had big crashes in our time and I'm allergic to fire so last year's smash at Bathurst was certainly scarier than most. It's not hard to get back in the car though; we're not smart enough for that, we just go and do our thing!” said Besnard.
“I'm really looking forward to competing with the BJR guys. We've both had good results at Bathurst. We've both been in a position to win it a couple of times and I'm looking forward to being competitive again.
“I've always had a lot of respect for Kim and Brad. It goes way back with my Dad racing against them in Formula Ford days so there's a family connection.
“I've always admired how they go about their business and that was reaffirmed at this week's test day. I was very pleased with the amount of laps I got and I really enjoyed it; I was comfortable straight up.”