Jack Daniel's Racing has confirmed that Tim Blanchard and David Russell will join regular drivers Todd Kelly and Rick Kelly for this year's Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 endurance races.
Russell currently driving in the Dunlop V8 Series with Kelly Racing’s Dreamtime Racing will share the #15 entry with Rick Kelly, while Blanchard who races with MW Motorsport in the same series will partner Todd Kelly in the #7 car.
Both drivers were a part of Kelly Racing's endurance squad last year, with Russell having co-driven Todd Kelly, while Blanchard teamed up with former driver David Reynolds in the #16 Kelly Racing entry.
Russell also replaced the injured Greg Murphy aboard Kelly Racing's #51 Pepsi Max Crew Holden Commodore in Tasmania earlier this year.
“It’s great to be back in the JD garage that is for sure,” said Russell.
“It’s good to have that continuity. I have been in the cars before, but obviously a switch this year to partner Rick which is something I am relishing.
“I get a feel for the car as there has been some changes since Bathurst last year and the guys have been working on some developments, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend at Phillip Island.”
Rick Kelly believes that this stability is the key to success and is pleased to have Russell on the team again.
“He knows us very well and knows the equipment as well,” said Rick Kelly.
“It’s very important in the endurance races to have a driver that is either doing the Dunlop Series or doing a lot of racing.
“We’re confident that it’s a pairing that is a very strong one and a combination that can win the endurance races.”
Both drivers are taking part in the designated co-drivers’ only practice session today ahead this weekend’s V8 Supercars Championship event at Phillip island.
“It’s just fantastic to be in the same organisation for two years in a row and gives everyone some continuity,” said Blanchard.
“To be representing a brand like Jack Daniel’s is a great opportunity for me.
“This weekend is all about getting a base setup for Todd to use for the rest of the meeting.
“It also gives me the opportunity to get used to driving one of the Kelly Racing cars against a full field of V8s.”
Speaking about teaming up with Blanchard, Todd Kelly said: “I’m rapt to have Tim Blanchard on-board this year. He did a great job for our Kelly Racing operation last year and really surprised us with not only his pace, but also his consistency and most importantly in endurance racing, his reliability and how he looked after the car.
“It will be good to get him in my car this weekend for at least two practice sessions and for me to really sit back and watch how he goes about it.
“I’m sure he will offer plenty for us later in the year, but also this weekend he will add to our efforts in getting the car dialled in for the Phillip Island races.”