DJR Team Penske
Team(s): Shell V-Power Racing Team
Team Principal: Roger Penske; Dick Johnson
Chassis: Ford Falcon FG X
Drivers’ Championships: 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1995, 2010
Drivers: Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin (Shell V-Power Racing Team)
A brief history
Founded by Dick Johnson, DJR Team Penske is the longest-operating motor racing team in Australia, with over 35 years of racing and business experience. The team is owned by five-time Australian Touring Car Champion and three-time Bathurst winner, Dick Johnson, and billionaire American race team owner and businessman, Roger Penske.
After scaling back from four to two cars in 2013 with the loss of Paul Morris and Charlie Schwerkolt’s licenses and having operated the Dean Fiore / TripleF Racing Entitlements Contract in 2012 and 2013, Chaz Mostert gave Dick Johnson Racing its first win since 2010 amid major financial dramas. DJR secured a second Racing Entitlements Contract for 2014 (purchasing the Paul Morris / Nemo Racing REC used by Tekno Autosports in 2013), but the new-lineup of Scott Pye and David Wall were unable to repeat Mostert’s win.
The team’s major success of 2014 was the announcement of a partnership with American powerhouse Team Penske, with ex-champion Marcos Ambrose returning after nine years in NASCAR to drive the #17 Ford Falcon.
The team scaled back again to run a single car in 2015 having leased its REC to Prodrive customer team Super Black Racing, but despite Marcos Ambrose’s eagerness to get back home and race in V8 Supercars once more, he stepped down after just one round, leaving Enduro Cup partner Scott Pye to do all the heavy lifting in 2015. After a slow start, Pye secured a maiden podium at Pukekoke.
DJR Team Penske expanded to a two-car operation in 2016, signing up the in-form and experienced Fabian Coulthard and retaining Scott Pye. Both drivers scored a podium at Phillip Island but bad luck and inconsistency saw them unable to repeat the feat again until Pye’s impressive performance in Pukekohe. Mid-way through the season, however, it was announced that Pye would be replaced by Kiwi young-gun Scott McLaughlin. Perhaps even more significant than McLaughlin’s move was the news that long-time Triple Eight technical director Ludo Lacroix, the mastermind behind Triple Eight’s vehicle development since it entered the category in 2003 as a Ford team, was to defect to the Ford camp in 2017.
Backed by Shell, the major oil company making its return to DJR Team Penske for the first time as a full-time sponsor since 2004, DJR Team Penske emerged as a genuine threat in 2017.
The cars were quick all season long. By the end of the year, DJR Team Penske had delivered 12 race victories, 17 pole positions, 27 podium finishes and 8 fastest laps. McLaughlin and Coulthard’s 1-2 result in the opening race at the Newcastle 500 sealed the 2017 Teams’ Championship, ending Triple Eight’s seven-year stranglehold on the trophy. McLaughlin’s tally of 16 poles and eight race wins including a new Supercars lap record around Mount Panorama was astonishing.
Outright speed however was not enough to win the drivers’ championship. McLaughlin took Jamie Whincup to the wire, but his title hopes unravelled in controversial circumstances in the Newcastle season finale. Slapped with three separate penalties, the last issued on the final lap for appearing to drive Craig Lowndes into the concrete wall handed the crown to his season-long rival.
Second and third in the drivers championship and a teams championship trophy in just the third season since the Team Penske / Dick Johnson Racing merger is no mean feat, but DJR Team Penske squad will be out for redemption in 2018. In the all-important number one garage in pit lane, the Ford squad will however need to cut out the unforced errors that cost crucial points in the early races of 2017.