Garry Rogers Motorsport has announced the signing of Frenchman Alexandre PrÃ©mat in the #33 Fujitsu Racing entry for the 2012 V8 Supercars season.
The 29-year-old former DTM, Le Mans, A1GP and Formula Renault driver will team up with Michael Caruso, filling the seat left vacant by Lee Holdsworth who has joined Stone Brothers Racing.
Rogers had thought to be looking at several home-grown rising stars, but in an interview with Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph, he revealed he was forced to look overseas and end his policy of signing young and up-and-coming drivers because the category had become “ultra-competitive”.
“I will either be a genius or a huge dickhead,” Rogers said.
“Some will see it as a shock and a major risk but I really think he is the man for the job.
“It is sad but that is the way the sport is,” Rogers added.
“I did a lot of thinking and research and I just thought I couldn’t take the risk of putting another young bloke in. I needed experience.
“My team has had a lot of success with our young driver program over the years but you no longer can afford the time and results that come with the inexperienced drivers. You need drivers who have a solid knowledge of the technical attributes of these cars and who are able to drive them very fast every lap.”
PrÃ©mat will become the first international driver to compete in the series full-time since Max Wilson from Brazil in 2007.
“I had watched a lot of the V8 Supercar races on cable television as it is very popular in Europe,” PrÃ©mat told The Daily Telegraph.
“It is a very exciting category and I really thought that I would like to become involved.
“I had had some dialogue with Garry Rogers as I knew of their team and was aware there was going to be an opportunity to join them.
“I believe Garry has a strong team and I have the necessary skills to do well.”