Jonny Reid is committed to helping Dick Johnson Racing turn around its fortunes after re-inventing his career.
The open-wheel, Carrera Cup and V8 SuperTourer journeyman landed a seat at DJR at the 11th hour.
Going to a team which has slipped from being the champions in 2010 is seen by some as a risky move.
However, Reid is relishing the chance to help lead the team emerge out of the doldrums.
With the team under pressure commercially, Reid faced a difficult initiation failing to finish in both season-opening races in Adelaide. However he managed to turn 53 and 52 laps in the races respectively gathering speed and valuable data.
Speedcafe’s Gordon Lomas caught up with the highly experienced Kiwi during his debut for DJR at the Clipsal 500.
SPEEDCAFE: You did the full V8 SuperTourer season last year but now International Motorsport is down to one car which has freed you up to pursue the V8 Supercar direction.
Reid: Last year I got a bit frustrated with the SuperTourers. There was a lot of politics off the track and I think this year they have come back with a lot better product. For me to go back there I want to see how that championship unfolds for the year. But I’m very excited to be over here at the moment. I’m very grateful to International
Motorsport for giving me the opportunity last season. To be leading the sprint championship and then to loose it off the track (when a previous points penalty for John McIntyre was rescinded) was a bit challenging for me.
SPEEDCAFE: So it was a little disappointing?
Reid: I just looked at my career and where I wanted to go and I’ve been very driven towards that. Australia has served me well in Carrera Cup. I’ve made some good contacts. I did the 12 Hour (Bathurst) with Stevie J (Steven Johnson) and Drew Russell in the Class B category. I’m having a good professional time now here in Australia and I see that as a good foundation for me.
SPEEDCAFE: What are your thoughts on how V8 SuperTourers will go in season #2?
Reid: SuperTourers is a great Championship and I think already this year they have started off in a good light. If there is an opportunity I will look at doing the enduros. But my sole focus is here at DJR for the season and it has to be. It’s a big job at Clipsal it was my first run in the car and we have been hands to the wall with everyone working their butt off. There was a lot of teething issues for us with suspension elements not quite right. We worked through all of those and it hurt our performance early in the weekend. We’ve just got to take baby steps and chip away at it.
SPEEDCAFE: You weren’t at the Sydney pre-season test so you are playing catch up as well.
Reid: It’s a great opportunity for me to progress and build a great team of guys around me and build some solid race results this year. Clipsal has been a live test for us. Also for me I’m learning the circuit because I’ve never driven here. I missed the first round of the Carrera Cup here last year. I just want to get this car as good as we can then get it back to the workshop and reset and digest everything we can and look at going forward.
Now we have run the car for the first time we can take a lot out of the weekend and really tackle the engineering side before the next round. For me, I am really looking forward to the next round and digesting everything we have learnt from Adelaide.
SPEEDCAFE: What is the deal that has brought you into DJR. Have you had to bring money in?
Reid: Look my career to date I’ve sort of struggled along a lot of the time. Really I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity. To come to Australia and be a professional driver is huge. I’ve got Steve Johnson who is believing in me and I’m grateful for that opportunity.
SPEEDCAFE: So you seem like you are extremely passionate about leading the team from the bottom?
Reid: We are not going to be where we are now for the rest of the season but I’m telling you now it’s not going to be an easy task either. I’m determined and I’m going to work my butt off and we will get this car a lot better than it is.
SPEEDCAFE: It’s a fairly positive attitude to have.
Reid: It’s not really about attitude, it’s about belief. Attitude is part of it and looking at the big picture the car was never going to be a rocket straight out of the box. You need time to understand it. Engineering-wise we are going through everything like everyone was at the Sydney test.
SPEEDCAFE: Have you had time to move close to the team on the Gold Coast yet?
Reid: As you are aware it was only announced (Reid’s deal at DJR) on the week of the opening round. I own a house in New Zealand and it’s just a matter of managing it. It’s great to be with DJR and I intend to prove what I can do.