DJR Team Penske manager returns to US
DJR Team Penske is set to appoint a new team manager following the departure of the experienced Jeff Swartwout.
After two years of service at the Queensland team Swartwout returned to America just days ahead of the Australian/American alliance’s 2017 season launch in Melbourne today.
Swartwout was one of several key Team Penske employees dispatched to Australia to help setup after the American giant’s 51 percent buy in of Dick Johnson’s long standing Supercars team in 2014.
Speedcafe.com can reveal that Swartwout returned to his native America last Saturday where he will resume a yet to be revealed role at Team Penske’s Mooresville, North Carolina base.
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Swartwout completed one of his last official duties with DJRTP a during a ride day at Queensland Raceway last week that saw new recruit Scott McLaughlin cut his first laps for the outfit.
He leaves Australia after playing a key role in the emergence of the new alliance which is tipped to have its most competitive season this year.
It is believed he enjoyed his tenure at DJRTP which allowed him to operate in one of the most competitive championships he has been involved with.
Swartwout joined Team Penske in 2005 where he has since worked on NASCAR and IndyCar programs after initially working on the team’s long terminated LMP2 program with the Porsche RS Spyder.
Prior to that he held the vice president role at Lola Cars North America which came after he had a nine-year stint at Reynard in the US.
Swartwout’s departure comes as DJRTP will officially unveil its new Shell-backed livery later today as the oil giant commences its new sponsorship arrangement.
The return to major backing is a throwback to Shell’s major partnership with DJR from 1987-2004 during which it enjoyed some of its greatest success, including Bathurst 1000 wins in 1989 and 1994 and the Australian Touring Car Championship for John Bowe in 1995.
The launch may also shed some light on the composition of the squad’s engineering line-up which remains unclear.
As previously reported, the squad is set for a restructure following the high profile arrival of technical guru Ludo Lacroix from Triple Eight in the off-season.
While engineer Phil Keed is expected to continue his partnership with Fabian Coulthard in the #12 Falcon, it is yet to be confirmed who will be assigned to incoming ace McLaughlin on the #17 car.