DJR not ruling out switch from Ford amid restructure
Iconic Ford team owner Dick Johnson has not ruled out a switch to another manufacturer as part of a restructure of his squad in the next few months.
Johnson has squashed rumours of financial instability in his operation and says that his management team is working on a transformation of his outfit for the next era of V8 Supercars racing.
Despite recently expressing his desire to continue with Ford, the former five-time Australian Touring Car Champion has hinted that switching marques is not beyond the realms of possibility if its current deal with the Blue Oval is not renewed.
“As far as I am concerned we intend to be a serious contender in 2013,” Johnson told Speedcafe.com.
“We have on-going discussions with Ford and other manufacturers, but that is only part of a total reshape we are working our way through.
“Everyone can speculate as much as they want, but we will let you know what is happening when we are ready.
“What I will say is that we are not ruling anything out.”
While the team is keeping its restructure plans close to its chest, there is growing speculation that Gold Coast-based businessman Maurie Pickering could be involved in the team’s future.
A car dealer and the principle of car loan provider FinanceEZI, Pickering has dipped his toe in the Australian motorsport waters this year through sponsorships in both the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series and the Radical Australia Cup.
While involved with multiple brands through his car dealerships, Pickering has his strongest ties with Mazda.
Pickering was spotted last week meeting with Johnson but declined to comment on a possible tie-up with the Queenslander’s team.
DJR continues to have a strong relationship with Crimsafe founder Steve Brabeck who provided the financial stability after the infamous fallout with former co-owner Charlie Schwerkolt after the 2010 championship-winning season.
It is yet to be confirmed how many cars DJR will run next year, with Schwerkolt guaranteed to be moving his license for Ford Performance Racing. As reported last month, current #18 Ford driver James Moffat is set to switch to Kelly Racing’s Nissan Motorsport outfit for 2013.