Dick Johnson Racing has confirmed the endurance drivers the team will field in the Sandown 500 and Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 as well as the four internationals for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 which pairs the series regulars with international category drivers from other championships.
Dane Allan Simonsen, Alex Davison, New Zealander Matt Halliday and Paul Morris will join the team for the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst, while Italian pair Max Papis and Gianni Morbidelli, Dutchman Peter Kox and American Boris Said will join the team for the two 300-kilometre endurance races around the streets of the Gold Coast.
Dick Johnson, Owner and Team Principal is excited about the skills and experience these drivers will bring to the four-car team.
“This year we needed to source eight co-drivers to team up with our regular season drivers. We were pleased that many of the internationally acclaimed drivers agreed to come back and race with us again,” said Johnson.
“With a team the size ours, it was important we found drivers who were of an exceptional standard but who also fitted with our team dynamic. They need to hit the ground running and fit in quickly in October and the group we have found, we believe, due to their experience and professionalism, will be excellent additions to the DJR team.”
Simonsen and Papis will join forces with Steven Johnson in the #17 Jim Beam Racing Falcon, while Davison and Kox will pair up with James Moffat in the #18 Team Norton DJR Falcon.
International GT driver endurance specialist Simonsen returns for his eighth consecutive season of endurance events, having completed his first Bathurst 1000 back in 2003, with his highest finish coming in 2011, when he scored his first podium at the Great Race. Papis has a career that spans NASCAR, A1GP, Formula One, CART and Grand-Am, but 2012 will see him make his International V8 Supercars debut, following a test with Walkinshaw Racing at Winton and Phillip Island last season.
Davison a V8 Supercars regular since 2004, previously drove for DJR back in 2006 and 2007 in the Sandown and Bathurst endurance races, scoring two top 10 finishes at Bathurst. Kox is an international motor sport professional with over 30 years' experience. Another endurance specialist, he won the GT1 class at the Le Mans 24 hour race and this year sees him drive in the FIA GT World Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and Blancpain Series.
In the second #12 Jim Beam Racing Falcon, Dean Fiore will be teamed up with Halliday and Morbidelli , while Morris and Said will steer the #49 VIP Petfoods Falcon with Steve Owen.
Halliday has vast international experience in a variety of racing categories including Indy Lights, Champcars and A1GP. More recently he has contested the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Europe and the Middle East. This year sees him in the FIA GT1 World Championship and marks his eighth Bathurst appearance and his second with Jim Beam Racing.
With 70 Formula One races under his belt, Morbidelli turned his attention to Touring Cars and GT racing in 2008, competing in several British and European championships. He has since had considerable success racing in the Italian Superstars Championship, winning the title with both Audi RS4 and BMW M3 three years in a row. This will be his third year at the Surfers Paradise street circuit and the third time he's teamed up with Fiore.
Morris, again pairing up with Steve Owen, is a four-time Super Touring champion who took his career to America in 1998 racing Indy Lights before returning to establish his own Paul Morris Motorsports operation on the Gold Coast. Having retired from full-time V8 Supercar racing at the end of 2008, he has since raced in the endurance events and a one-off drive at Yas Marina Circuit to replace the absent Greg Murphy. In 2012, Paul Morris Motorsports merged with Dick Johnson Racing, with Morris becoming the Team Strategist.
Said is an experienced American NASCAR and Le Mans racer. He made his V8 Supercars debut in 2008 at Phillip Island and returned in 2011 to partner Steve Owen. The pair claimed a top 10 finish in the second race.