Jonny Reid claims Kiwi V8 place

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 21:53 26/02/2013
Johnny Reid
Farifax NZ
IN THE TEAM: Johnny Reid claiming has claimed the final spot on the grid with Dick Johnson Racing.

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New Zealand's presence in the 2013 V8 Supercars championship has extended to four drivers at the last minute with Jonny Reid claiming the final spot on the grid with Dick Johnson Racing.

Reid joins British-born but Auckland raised Fabian Coulthard and New Zealand V8 SuperTourers champion Scott McLaughlin and Shane Van Gisbergen as the Kiwi standard bearers.

McLaughlin, who contested the endurance races last year, and former A1GP racer Reid  join the fray although there is no full time drive available for veteran Greg Murphy.

Van Gisbergen left Stone Brothers Racing at the end of last season to return home to Auckland but earlier this month reversed his decision and linked up with Tekno Autosports.

Reid's appointment to join Tim Blanchard as DJR's lead drivers followed in the slipstream of Steven Johnson's decision to step out of the cockpit and become the Queensland-based and Ford-aligned team's general manager.

That surprise decision was perfectly timed for Reid, who has spent the past two years contesting the Australian Carrera Cup championship, where he finished runner-up on both occasions.

It will be Reid's first fulltime season in V8 Supercars although he was a co-driver for Tekno Autosports in last year's endurance races and also lined up on the V8 SuperTourers circuit back home.

"My aim since 2011 was to focus on a full time V8 Supercar drive," the accomplished single-seater racer said.

"This is a world class series and after a great run in the enduros last year I was very hungry to try and step up.

"I have got to know Steve well and we spoke at length at the Bathurst 12 Hour (earlier this month).

"To be able to begin my fulltime driving with DJR is fantastic," he said.

Team owner Dick Johnson said the arrival of Blanchard and Reid marks a new chapter for his long-running team.

"We were impressed with Tim Blanchard and he tested well for us last week in Sydney.

"With Steve stepping down we had a number of younger drivers in our sights and Jonny was the stand out.

"He has raced in a multitude of classes all over the world and has had great success. We saw him as a perfect fit."

The V8 Supercars championship revs up this weekend with the series-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

A previous version of this story stated that Shane van Gisbergen had quit the series to return home to Auckland. But he is actually a member of Tekno Autosports.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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