Wall, Volvo among key silly season players
David Wall has emerged as a contender for the second seat at Volvo Polestar Racing as the current Dick Johnson Racing driver assesses his options to remain in the V8 Supercars Championship.
Wall is expected to depart DJR at the end of 2014 as part of the Team Penske takeover, which will see Marcos Ambrose slot into the #17 Ford.
The 31-year-old Wall, who enjoys substantial long-time backing from Wilson Security and Payce Consolidated, faces a thinning market, as the majority of seats are already locked in.
The Volvo drive remains one of the key unknowns, with current driver Robert Dahlgren likely to head back to Sweden after a single season.
Michael Caruso had been an early favourite to take the seat, but is now officially out of play following confirmation that he will remain at Nissan Motorsport.
Nissan has three of its drivers locked in, with co-owner Todd Kelly’s continued career as a driver still pending ongoing sponsorship talks.
When asked of his 2015 plans, Wall told Speedcafe.com that his full attention is on finishing this year with DJR as strongly as possible.
“I haven’t had any discussions with anyone, I’m just concentrating on driving the car,” he said, stressing that driving at DJR Team Penske “remains an option”.
“There are other people that are out of the car doing whatever they’re doing, but I’m basically concentrating on being as fast as I can and trying to find that form that we had at the start of the season.”
Volvo team owner Garry Rogers meanwhile says that he’s still looking at all options and a decision will not be made on his line-up until later in the year.
“I think Wall goes alright, but there’s a handful of guys who go alright,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com when asked of the former two-time Australian GT Champion.
“At this stage, my preferred option is to stay as we are (with Dahlgren), but things will need to be better than they have been for us to do that.
“Until we get closer to the end of the year we won’t make any definite decisions.”
While the factory Volvo deal has been a boost for Rogers’ team this year, the two S60s are largely devoid of sponsorship, ensuring that the veteran has had to top up the budget with his own funds.
The typically colourful Rogers says that funding may need to be considered when selected the second driver.
“We’ve not pursued that activity previously, but if a bloke that can drive came along with a big bag of money, I’d kiss him and hug him and he can sit on my bed and rub my toes if he wants,” he said.
“I’ve not considered it (taking a funded driver) before but I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t consider it.”
Rogers’ Volvos have run without a bonnet sponsors since early in the season, where it cycled through three backers – including Wilson Security at Albert Park – across three events.
“We have been working on it and we’ve been able to do it occasionally, but we’re not prepared to cheapen our brand by just grabbing anything,” he said of filling the space.
“I’m fortunate that I’ve got a strong business that has been able to help our motor racing activities, and I’m not prepared to lessen our value by just grabbing money off anyone to put on the bonnet of our car.
“If it’s the right deal, then of course we’d do it, and we do have something for Bathurst and the Gold Coast that we’ll announce in due course.”
Wall meanwhile has been working on refining his craft, recently taking in a week-long driving course with British GT racer Tim Sugden in the United Kingdom.
Undertaken last month to coincide with a friend’s wedding, the trip saw Wall drive a selection of road cars at British circuits Thruxton, Donington Park, Brands Hatch, Mallory Park, Castle Combe and Silverstone.
“I’ve never had any training whatsoever with my driving, apart from when my father taught me how to drive when I first started,” explained Wall.
“I’ve always been keen to do something like that, it’s just that the time was finally right to go and do it.
“The best part of it for me was to turn up at a race track I’d never seen before and basically jump in and have him critique my style.
“We visited some awesome places and I definitely learnt some things that I brought back from him.
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve corrected it yet but he’s definitely been able to point them out and I’m working on making those parts of my driving better for sure.”
Current DJR team-mate Scott Pye also underwent tuition from Sugden and, despite having a two-year deal with DJR, is too thought to be a possibility for the Volvo drive.
Wall and Pye sit 20th and 13th respectively in the championship standings after the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
This year marks Wall’s third year in the V8 Supercars Championship, having run under the Wilson/Payce colours at Brad Jones Racing for the two previous seasons.