The iconic Dick Johnson Racing could be split in two as the ugly divorce between team co-owners Dick Johnson and Charlie Schwerkolt edges towards a conclusion.
After months of negotiations on a buy-out, last weekend’s V8 event at Symmons Plains offered the best indication of a possible future for the pair.
It is being mooted that Dick Johnson Racing will be split, with Johnson and Schwerkolt taking a Racing Entitlements Contract each, subsequently linking them with existing Ford teams.
While the DJR team could vacate its long-standing base at Yatala, Queensland, DJR would still remain in the sport, albeit in a much different capacity.
At Symmons Plains on the weekend, chat placed Johnson’s REC and his son Steven at Stone Brothers Racing in a fourth Falcon entry. Team owner Ross Stone dismissed that as an option when approached by Speedcafe.com.au.
For Schwerkolt, he is understood to be placing his entry at Ford Performance Racing for a fourth car, and he is also believed to be exercising his option to buy one of the Walkinshaw Racing RECs.
Schwerkolt told Speedcafe.com.au that a resolution could come as early as next week.
“Unfortunately, it has gone on far too long. I need to know my future soon, and it has to be very soon,” Schwerkolt told Speedcafe.com.au.
“l need to know where we’re going, the staff need to know what they’re doing and the drivers need to know. I’m waiting on some clarification from Dick where we’re up to on a couple of things, and hopefully that is next week. I know I’ve been saying ‘soon’ for weeks now, but I’m still waiting.”
When approached by Speedcafe.com.au, Johnson would not comment.
“I don’t want to waste your time. When we’ve got something official to say, we’ll tell you,” the three-time Bathurst winner told Speedcafe.com.au.
The breakup at DJR has already claimed two victims – sporting director Adrian Burgess who will head to TeamVodafone next year, and the team’s third entry of Jonathon Webb, which will run as a separate team in 2011. CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com.au’s Webb story.
Schwerkolt said that the Webb departure was a disappointment.
“It’s a real shame,” Schwerkolt told Speedcafe.com.au.
“I was the one who got the discussions going with Jono and Steve (Webb), and it has been a fantastic relationship and partnership to have the three cars together. It’s a real shame to lose the Webbs because they really are great guys.”
The final piece to the puzzle is the future of title leading driver James Courtney, who is technically under contract to Jim Beam Racing but will be a free agent once the team ownership changes at DJR are finalised.
The Ford star has been heavily linked to a switch to Holden as the replacement for Will Davison at the Toll Holden Racing Team, as well being suggested as Schwerkolt’s driver in a possible fourth entry at Ford Performance Racing.