Paul Dumbrell will leave Tom Walkinshaw Racing at the end of this year after not renewing his contract with them, and Fabian Coulthard has already been announced as his replacement.
TWR currently run two works cars under the Holden Racing Team banner, for Garth Tander and Will Davison, plus two semi-works cars for Dumbrell and David Reynolds run under Autobarn Racing and Bundaberg Red Racing name respectively.
“Paul has done a great job over the last two years and has been a valuable member of our team,” said Craig Wilson, team CEO. “It will be sad to see him go but Paul has chosen to further his career outside of Walkinshaw Racing and we wish him well.”
Dumbrell moved to TWR just after they had taken over both HRT and the Toll HSV Dealer Team in 2008, and had Rick Kelly as his team-mate. However when TWR disbanded the team Dumbrell moved to HRT and Kelly to a new team, Kelly Racing, with his older brother Todd.
His replacement for 2010 is Fabian Coulthard, who made his debut in a Tasman Motorsport Holden in 2004, followed by stints at Paul Morris Motorsports and Paul Cruickshank Racing.
“To drive alongside Garth Tander and Will Davison at Walkinshaw Racing is an exciting prospect,” Coulthard said. “This is a great opportunity for me and I am honoured to have been given the chance to step up and drive for such a professional outfit.”
However it was revealed only hours after Dumbrell’s departure from TWR he would race for Rod Nash Racing in 2010, who will swap from Holden to an Ford Performance Racing-backed Falcon next year.
“It's a great opportunity for me personally,” Dumbrell said, “but it was definitely the toughest decision of my motorsport career. Where I have been for the past two years and obviously next year is in the premier race teams in the country.”
Dumbrell has hinted he will stay at FPR for many years to come, and doesn’t plan jumping ship again.
“I started my career a lot of years ago with Rod Nash at Bathurst driving together and I'm very happy to end my career with Rod as well, and with FPR,” he said.
So, a positive outcome for all involved?
Not so. Paul Cruickshank has been left out in the could by Coulthard, who gave the English-born New Zealander a drive when others were reluctant to do so.
“It has always been a part of our business philosophy to develop young drivers and one of the unfortunate outcomes (for us) of achieving this is when a top factory team wants your young talent,” Cruickshank said. “He got a very good opportunity with a factory team and we always said it would be very selfish of us to stop him if such an opportunity came up.”
He now has to find a replacement for Coulthard, and says he already has a shortlist of potential drivers lined up.
“This has all been going on for a while now so we've been talking to some people and we are working on a short-list of drivers.”