MAX PAPIS JOINS DICK JOHNSON RACING FOR THE GOLD COAST 600

By Max Papis Racing | April 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

DICK JOHNSON RACING ANNOUNCES ENDURANCE AND GOLD COAST CO-DRIVER LINE UPS

Stapylton, QLD: Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) today made the exciting announcement of their 2012 Season of Endurance and Gold Coast co-drivers. 

Drawing from both Australasian and international driver talent pools, the team is excited about the skills and experience these drivers will bring to the four-car team throughout October.

Pairing up with Steve Johnson in the Jim Beam backed car #17 will be Allan Simonsen for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and the Sandown 500 and Max Papis for the AmorAll Gold Coast 600.  Simonsen has been a constant competitor in the V8 Supercars series in recent years, having completed his first Bathurst 1000 back in 2003 and 7 times since.  In 2011, Simonsen scored his first podium at the Great Race. 

 Max Papis, also known as ‘Mad Max’, has a career that spans NASCAR, A1GP, Le Mans and Formula 1.  He has also earned numerous victories and championships racing in the CART and Grand-Am Series. Frequently appearing in the high profile Indy 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Rolex 24 at Daytona, Papis will race in the International V8 Supercars for the first time in 2012 with Dick Johnson Racing at the Gold Coast.

 Dean Fiore will be joined in his #12 Jim Beam Racing Falcon by V8 Supercar stalwart, Matt Halliday for the Bathurst and Sandown races and Gianni Morbidelli once again for the Gold Coast event.  Morbidelli has over 30 years motor sport experience including 70 Formula 1 starts.  Matt Halliday will again join Jim Beam Racing and complete his 8th Bathurst.

Team Norton DJR car #18 pilot, James Moffat, will race with former DJR endurance driver, Alex Davison, for the endurance races and the experienced racer, Peter Kox, for the Gold Coast.  Davison, previously drove for DJR back in 2006 and 2007 when he scored two top 10 finishes at Bathurst. 

Peter Kox, an international motor sport professional with over 30 years experience, joins the team during a busy year for the Dutchman.  Kox will drive in the FIA GT World Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and Blancpain Series (a previous winner of the latter two).  Kox will also undertake development work for SaReNi / Reiter Engineering’s Camaro GT3.

Steve Owen, will again be joined in the #49 V.I.P. Petfoods car for the endurance races by DJR Team Strategist, Paul Morris, this time in their new DJR prepared Ford Falcon.  The pair came 9th in the 2011 race.  His international co-driver for the Gold Coast race will once again be the experienced American NASCAR and Le Mans racer, Boris Said.  The pair claimed a top 10 finish in the second race of the 2011 event.

Dick Johnson, Owner and Team Principal, Dick Johnson Racing commented, “This year we needed to source eight co-drivers to team up with our regular season drivers.  We were pleased that many of the internationally acclaimed drivers agreed to come back and race with us again. 

“With a team the size ours, it was important we found drivers who were of an exceptional standard but who also fitted with our team dynamic.  They need to hit the ground running and fit in quickly in October and the group we have found, we believe, due to their experience and professionalism, will be excellent additions to the DJR team,” Johnson added.

 About Dick Johnson Racing

 Dick Johnson Racing is the longest operating racing team in Australia, with over 30 years of racing and business experience.  The team is owned by 5-time Australian Touring Car Champion and 3-time Bathurst winner, Dick Johnson. 

Current regular season drivers are; Steven Johnson, who pilots his father’s famous numbered car #17, for Jim Beam Racing, Dean Fiore in car #12 who also drives for Jim Beam Racing, James Moffat, son of motor racing legend, Allan Moffat, in car #18 for Team Norton DJR and Steve Owen in car #49 for V.I.P. Petfoods.

For more information on our history and our brands, please visit www.djr.com.au

We can also also be joined via Facebook: www.facebook.com/JimBeamRacing, www.facebook.com/TeamNortonDJR, www.facebook.com/V.I.P.PetfoodsRacing, www.facebook.com/DJRLiveRacingFeed

FOR JIM BEAM RACING CAR #17:

 About Steven Johnson (Dick Johnson Racing Regular Season Driver 2012, car #17)

The son of Team Owner, Dick Johnson, Steven has stamped himself as one of the most consistent performers in the V8 Supercars Championship over the past 18 years. Starting his V8 Supercar career in 1994 as an Endurance Diver with DJR, Steven has had almost 400 race starts with nearly half of these finishing in the top 10. 

Johnson & DJR have endured some tough times but podium finishes at Bathurst and Bahrain in 2007 as well as a string of Top 10 finishes was a key element in putting DJR back on track and provided a solid base to build upon.

With the newly expanded 4 car team and new personnel in 2012, Johnson has stepped up to a genuine leadership role within the team.

For more information, please visit www.stevejohnson.com.au

About Allan Simonsen (Dick Johnson Racing Endurance Driver 2012, car #17)

Allan’s passion for racing started in 1989 with Junior Karting. He soon progressed up the karting ranks, winning the Danish and Nordic championship 4 times. In 1999, he progressed to the Danish Formula Ford, taking out the Championship in his rookie season.

He first moved into the V8 Supercars in 2003, competing in the Bathurst 1000 for Garry Rogers Motorsport.  He also won the Australian GT championship in 2007 and the Asian Le Mans Series in 2009.

Between 2004 and 2011, Simonsen completed 7 V8 Supercar ‘Season Of Endurance’ events, with his highest finish at

the 2011 event, getting on the Bathurst 1000 podium for the first time. In 2012, he joins the four-car Dick Johnson

Racing operation and will partner with Steve Johnson for the Bathurst and Sandown endurance events.

For more information, please visit www.AllanSimonsen.com

About Max Papis (Dick Johnson Racing Gold Coast 600 International Driver 2012, car #17)

Max is one of the most versatile and accomplished race drivers in the world, a consummate professional who through out his career has combined natural talent, hard work, focus and sheer determination to win as he climbed each step, surpassing his limits and building an impressive résumé in the process.

In 1996, fresh out of Formula 1, Papis went to America and made an immediate impact in the driving circles when, at the end of a particularly tough Daytona 24 Hours and at the wheel of a factory Ferrari prototype, he put on a very spirited, ‘never-say-die’ drive to chase the leaders, which earned him the nickname “Mad Max” Papis. It stuck ever since, and he is still driving like that.

In 2012, Max will make his International V8 Supercars debut, driving with Steve Johnson at the Gold Coast 600.

For more information, please visit www.maxpapis.com and follow Max on  twitter.com/maxpapis

FOR JIM BEAM RACING CAR #12:

 About Dean Fiore (Dick Johnson Racing Regular Season Driver, car #12)

In 2012, Dean is competing in his fourth full year in the International V8 Supercar Championship.  He debuted at the Clipsal 500 in 2009 with no previous V8 Supercar experience, coming an overall 15th in the race, with the Team Kiwi outfit run by Paul Morris Motorsports (PMM). Eventually the Fiore family took over the TKR Racing Entitlements Contract and continued to run a VE Commodore under the Triple F Racing banner with preparation from PMM.

2011 saw Triple F establish their own team with a base on the Gold Coast after purchasing the former Fabian Coulthard/Wilson Security Racing FG Falcon to run under the Triple F Racing banner.

In 2012, Dean has joined the longest operating racing team in Australia, Dick Johnson Racing, where his new Jim Beam Falcon will be prepared and run by the team out of their Queensland-based headquarters.

About Matt Halliday (Dick Johnson Racing Endurance Driver 2012, car #12)

Matt Halliday is a New Zealand born international racing driver who has been contesting a variety of racing categories worldwide.

Having risen through the ranks of junior formulae such as karting and Formula Ford he quickly progressed to international racing championships including Formula Holden in Australia, Indy Lights in the USA and Formula Renault V6 in Europe and Asia.

The highest profile categories he has raced in include Australian V8 Supercars endurance races, USA Champcars, A1GP and more recently the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup contested in Europe and the Middle East.

When his commitments allow, Matt also returns to New Zealand to contest selected Porsche GT3 events.  2012 will see Matt race in the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship for China Exim Bank Porsche.

For more information, please visit www.matthalliday.com 

About Gianni Morbidelli  (Dick Johnson Racing Gold Coast 600 International Driver 2012, car #12)

Gianni Morbidelli started karting at the age of 12, spending six years in the junior ranks.  He moved into the Italian Formula 3 from 1987, taking out the title in 1989.  1990 saw Morbidelli experience Formula 1, driving for Scuderia Italia and the Minardi team.  He also test drove for Ferrari before focussing on Formula 3000 for the rest of the season.  In 1991 and 1992, he returned to Minardi but retained his test driver spot with Ferrari.  Upon retiring from Formula 1 in 1997, he had completed 70 races.

From 1998 to 2066, Morbidelli turned his attention to Touring Cars and GT, competing in several British and European championships.  He had considerable success from 2007, racing in the Italian Superstars Championship, where he won the title with both Audi RS4 and BMW M3 three years in a row.

Morbidelli first drove a V8 Supercar with Dean Fiore at the 2010 Gold Coast 600, where the pair came 9th in the Saturday race.  He joined Fiore again the following year, and will also race again on the Gold Coast in 2012.

For more information, please visit www.giannimorbidelli.com

FOR TEAM NORTON DJR CAR #18:

About James Moffat (Dick Johnson Racing Regular Season Driver, car #18)

The son of Australian Touring Car legend Allan Moffat, James grew up around racing and immediately developed a similar passion for motorsport. He began kart racing in 1998 until he moved into circuit racing in at the end of 2002. 

It wasn’t until 2004 though, that James really hit his stride, earning himself consecutive Rookie of the Year titles for the Lotus Trophy, V8 Ute Series, Australian Formula Ford Championship, Australian Porsche Carrera Cup Championship and the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Development Series between 2004 and 2009.

In 2010 James joined Ford Rising Stars Racing and he finishing 3rd in the series.  James also made his V8 Supercar Championship debut driving for Ford Performance Racing in the endurance races. He partnered Bathurst winner Steven Richards to an 11th place finish in his Bathurst debut.

2012 see’s James’ second year with the Gold Coast based Dick Johnson Racing outfit, where he will drive for his long term personal sponsor in the #18 Team Norton DJR Falcon.

For more information, please visit www.jamesmoffat.com.au

About Alex Davison (Dick Johnson Racing Endurance Driver 2012, car #18)

Alex Davison has racing in his blood, with both his Grandfather, Lex, his Father, Richard and his Brother, Will, all successful race car drivers.

Since becoming the Victorian Junior Karter of the Year in 1994, Davison’s career has taken him all over the world.  From Australian Formula Ford, Porcshe Carrera Cup, 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA GT.  

Alex first entered the V8 Supercars in 2004, coming home as the highest placed Rookie at the Bathurst 1000.  Since then, Alex has been a constant competitor in the main Series in Australia.  2006 and 2007 saw him join Dick Johnson Racing for the first time for the Sandown and Bathurst endurance races.  He rejoins the iconic Queensland team for the Season of Endurance again in 2012, partnering with James Moffat in the #18 Team Norton DJR Falcon.

About Peter Kox  (Dick Johnson Racing Gold Coast 600 International Driver 2012, car #18)

Peter Kox began his racing career in karting and then the Marlboro Challenge ‘83.  In 1987, he became a professional driver and since then Kox has built a respectable career in formula and touring car racing.  In 2000 he started concentrating on endurance racing in GT-cars and is still one of the top drivers in this class. In 2003, he won the Le Mans 24 hours race in GT1 in a Prodrive Ferrari.  Since then, Peter has continued to compete in many 24 and 12-hour endurance races.  This year, Kox will drive in the FIA GT World Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and Blancpain Series (a previous winner of the latter two).  He will also undertake development work for SaReNi / Reiter Engineering’s Camaro GT3, before joining James Moffat as International Co-Driver at the Gold Coast 600 in October.

For more information, please visit www.koxracing.com 

FOR V.I.P. PETFOODS CAR #49:

About Steve Owen (Dick Johnson Racing Regular Season Driver, car #49)

One of only two repeat champions in the history of the V8 Supercars Development Series in 2008 and 2010, Steve Owen has been around V8 Supercar racing for over a decade.

He first appeared as an endurance driver with Garry Rogers Motorsport in 1999 at Bathurst and secured himself a full-time drive in the V8 Supercars Championship in 2005 with Britek Motorsport.

Owen really proved himself during a stint as Jamie Whincup’s endurance co-driver in 2010.  The duo took pole at Phillip Island, finished runners-up at Bathurst and then won on the Gold Coast.

This season he will again drive for V.I.P. Petfoods for the secnd year, however this year in a Ford Falcon as part of an expanded four-car squad at Dick Johnson Racing.  It’s something of a return to DJR for Owen, who drove one of the team’s Jim Beam Falcons in the endurance races at Phillip Island and Bathurst in 2008.

About Paul Morris (Dick Johnson Racing Endurance Driver 2012, car #49)

One of the most relaxed drivers in the field, Paul Morris is very much a touring car professional.

After starting in Formula Ford, he made his Bathurst debut in a Toyota Corolla in 1991 and began racing BMWs full-time in 1992, an association that would continue for the next eight years in Group A and Super Touring.

A four-time Super Touring champion, Morris took his career to America in 1998 racing Indy Lights before returning to establish his own Paul Morris Motorsports operation on the Gold Coast.

His team debuted in V8 Supercar racing in 2000, initially with backing from Big Kev cleaning products, before switching to the family Sirromet Wine brand.

Morris retired from full-time V8 Supercar racing at the end of 2008 but has since raced in the endurance events and a one-off drive at Yas Marina Circuit to replace the absent Greg Murphy.

In 2012, Paul Morris Motorsports merged with Dick Johnson Racing, with Morris becoming the Team Strategist.  He will once again pair up with Steve Owen for V.I.P. Petfoods for the endurance events.

About Boris Said (Dick Johnson Racing Gold Coast 600 International Driver 2012, car #49)

Boris Said is one of the best road racers in the business. In 2003, Said won his first NASCAR Cup Pole at Infineon Raceway driving in the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac.

Said is a former regular in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, made 64 starts in that series between 1995 and 2000, including full seasons in 1997 and 1998. He earned one NCTS victory, at Sears Point, in 1998.

He also races in the Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2004, Said narrowly missed winning the Rolex Series GT championship, as he tied Bill Auberlen in points, but lost the championship on the most wins tiebreaker (Said with five and Auberlen with eight).

Running primarily on road courses, Said has 41 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series – including six in 2010, with a best finish of eighth at Infineon Raceway.  In 2011, Said’s two Cup Series starts were in road-course races. He finished 28th in Sonoma and 22nd at Watkins Glen. 

He made his V8 Supercars debut in 2008 at Phillip Island and returned in 2011 to partner Steve Owen.  He again  joins Owen in the #49 V.I.P. Petfoods V8 Supercar for the 2012 Gold Coast 600.

# # #

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Kel Constantine, Marketing & PR Manager, Dick Johnson Racing

Mob: +61 410 796 769, Tel:  +61 7 3287 0111  Email:  kel@katshu.com.au

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