DJR/V.I.P Petfoods launch Photo credit: Dick Johnson Racing

DJR/V.I.P Petfoods launch Photo credit: Dick Johnson Racing

Steve Owen will switch to Ford and become a part of a four-car Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) operation with backing from V.I.P. Petfoods, the team confirmed today.

The expansion to four cars follows a merger with Paul Morris Motorsports (PMM) that will see the #49 PPM car move across to the DJR stable and will see current driver, Steve Owen jump into a Ford FG Falcon for the first time as a full-time driver in the V8 Supercars Championship.

DJR formally announced the merger with PMM and unveiled the new look V.I.P. Petfoods Ford Falcon for the 2012 season at the official team launch on 2 February.

Owen, who finished 17th in last year's championship will join the two Jim Beam Racing entries of Steven Johnson and new recruit Dean Fiore and the Norton-sponsored car of James Moffat.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to compete in another full season in the ‘main game’,” said Owen.

“I really have to thank V.I.P. Petfoods for their continued support of my V8 Supercar career.”

Commenting on the new team and the merger, Owner and Team Principal, Dick Johnson Racing said:

“For the first time in our history, we will run a four-car team in the main game this year. It's an exciting development for us and I really look forward to welcoming Steve back to DJR after his endurance drive with us in 2008.

“The support of such an iconic local company like V.I.P. Petfoods, is essential for the success of a team like ours. They are passionate supporter of Australian motorsports and we look forward to working with Tony, Rex and the V.I.P. Petfoods team closely throughout the season.”

The #49 V.I.P Petfoods Falcon will be prepared by the DJR workshop under a Racing Entitlements Contract owned by PMM Principal Paul Morris, who added:

“The DJR / PMM merger is not only a great commercial opportunity for our sponsors and team, but is a great chance for us to work alongside Dick. I have great respect for him as a person, team owner and for the brand he has created.”

Owen will debut with the team at V8 Supercars’ test day at Sandown on 11 February.