Tony Ricciardello has secured the final spot in the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship Series field.
The six-times Australian Sports Sedan Champion will steer the #16 Commodore VE for the entire 2010 season, prepared by Kelly Racing.
The car will be sponsored by Super-Max Razors for the first two rounds of the series in the Middle East.
While this is not Ricciardello’s Main Game debut (he has made 14 starts), it will be the first full-time V8 drive that he has secured.
Ricciardello has driven for a number of V8 Supercar teams in both the Main Series and the Fujitsu V8 Series. Besides the endurances races, the last time he raced in the Main V8 Series was in 2006 when he shared a season drive with Jose Fernandez at Britek Motorsport.
The West Australian drove with Kelly Racing in last year’s enduros at Phillip Island and Bathurst, partnering fellow West Aussie Mark McNally.
Super-Max Razors will be the major backer on the #16 entry for the first two rounds of the series, running alongside the other three Kelly Commodores of Todd and Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing) and Jason Bargwanna (Rock Racing).
Ricciardello admitted that it has been a long journey from him to finally reach his goal of a full-time V8 Supercar drive.
“You could probably say that it’s been 10 or 11 years of progress that I’ve had behind me, trying to break in to get that full-time drive,” said Ricciardello.
“It hasn’t even really sunk in. Kelly Racing has been great to me over the last year and hopefully this year is going to be another great one and we can all look back at the end of the year and say that we’ve had a great season.”
“The team is giving me a great car and it’s awesome to have a new sponsor in Super-Max onboard for the events in the Middle East as well.
“I’m really excited. It’s going to be a big weekend and I can’t wait to hop into the Super-Max Commodore for first practice. New sponsor, new driver and a relatively new team attacking the newest circuit in the series at Yas Marina – It’s going to be a great weekend and I can’t wait.”
Team co-owner Todd Kelly said that Ricciardello has huge potential.
“We’re all pumped about it,” said Kelly.
“Tony has got a lot of potential and for us it’s a huge win to get him onboard for this year.
“He is a guy that has always had a massive amount of potential but has slipped under the radar year after year, so it’s good for us to finally give him a decent crack at a full season.
“I think he will surprise a few people, especially from the mid-to-late part of the year.”
“He has done a fantastic job for us every time he’s been in the car. He’s been around for a while so he’s sensible and he knows how to drive the car well.”
The Super-Max Commodore VE will be unveiled later today in Abu Dhabi. Check back for more pics and news from announcement.