Following confirmation this week of his endurance plans with Erebus Motorsport, Steven Johnson says he’s hopeful of making a full-time return to the V8 Supercars Championship in 2014.
The 38-year-old stepped away from driving and into the role of general manager at his father’s Dick Johnson Racing outfit this year as the legendary team rebuilds from a pre-season cash crisis.
Although moving back into a race seat at DJR could be seen as the only realistic goal at this stage of his career, Johnson says he’ll be exploring all options to get himself on the grid next season.
“My aim is to be full-time again in 2014, but that’s going to depend on what opportunities are out there, including at DJR,” Johnson told Speedcafe.com.
“We’re going to have to see how it plays out over the course of the next three or four months.
“At the end of the day I still classify myself as a racer. The situation this year hasn’t been ideal and certainly if an opportunity comes up for a full-time drive that would become my main priority again.”
While Johnson would relinquish his DJR role completely if he was to find himself in a full-time seat elsewhere, balancing his commitments at two teams will be required over the coming months.
“At the moment I’m still focussed on DJR’s business and working damn hard here, but I’m turning a bit of my attention away from it to Erebus,” he explained.
“That’s a matter of limiting my time (at DJR) by a couple of hours a day just to focus on fitness training and getting myself mentally and physically in the best shape that I can be in.”
Regardless of his own situation, Johnson says that DJR’s aim is to enter 2014 with two fully funded cars.
The squad has been operating on a rolling sponsorship arrangement with Wilson Security since the start of the season, while Shell will feature on the #17 Tim Blanchard-driven entry this weekend in Darwin and then in Townsville as part of a three-race agreement that began at Barbagallo.
DJR is currently on the lookout for a commercial manager to shore up its budget for this year and next.
The #12 Racing Entitlements Contract that Chaz Mostert competes under is being leased from Dean Fiore under a one-year deal struck pre-season, with discussions yet to formally commence about a renewal.
Mostert too is only on loan until the end of 2013 and with three of FPR’s four current drivers – Will Davison, David Reynolds and Alex Davison – all off-contract ahead of next year, the 21-year-old’s future may not be known for some time.
Johnson hopes that Mostert, who scored DJR’s best qualifying and race results of the season immediately upon joining the team in place of Jonny Reid at Barbagallo, will form a key part of DJR’s future.
“We’d love to be able to keep Chaz on in 2014 and personally I’d love to have him locked in here for next season by this year’s endurance races,” said Johnson.
“What we don’t want is to head into another off-season with uncertainty and rumours about whether we’ll be at Clipsal like there was at the start of this year.
“If we can secure someone like Chaz and move forward from there (commercially) that would an ideal situation.”
DJR confirmed its own 2013 endurance line-up this week, with Dunlop Series front-runners Ash Walsh and Dale Wood set to join Blanchard and Mostert respectively.