Steven Richards defects to Red Bull

Steven Richards

Steven Richards

Reigning Bathurst 1000 winner Steven Richards will end a seven-year relationship with Ford Performance Racing to join Craig Lowndes at Red Bull next season.

Following Lowndes’ former co-driver, Warren Luff, announcing on Monday that he won’t return in 2014, Red Bull has confirmed a two-year deal for Richards.

Richards is a three-time Bathurst winner having taken victory at Mount Panorama in 1998, 1999 and 2013.

He has been one of the strongest endurance co-drivers since losing his full-time ride with FPR at the end of 2010.

“It’s great to announce that I’ll be driving with Red Bull Racing Australia and Triple Eight Race Engineering for two seasons,” said Richards in a statement.

“I’m really looking forward to next year and it’ll be fantastic partnering Craig, one of the strongest endurance drivers in Australian touring car history.”

Red Bull owner Roland Dane said Richards was the ‘perfect’ partner for Lowndes, who won the Pirtek Enduro Cup with Luff this season.

“He has a wealth of experience that is invaluable during these intense races,” Dane said.

“With three Bathurst 1000 wins under his belt, he’s the perfect driver to partner Craig next year, and his win this season at the Mountain proved that he’s got what it takes to deliver us the best results possible.”

Red Bull also announced that Paul Dumbrell will return alongside Whincup for a third consecutive year.

The 2012 Bathurst winner had cast doubts over his future participation in the endurance races after making two costly mistakes at Mount Panorama this year.

“To be joining Red Bull Racing Australia and Jamie again next year is fantastic. We’ve had a really good run together and I’m looking forward to trying to continue that,” Dumbrell said.

“I can’t wait to have a stab at winning back our Bathurst crown!”

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