Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison have been confirmed as the new driver line-up for Dick Johnson racing next year.
De Pasquale joins the reigning teams’ champions after a three-year stint with Penrite Racing. At the same time, Davison found himself a free agent on the driver market after the unfortunate withdrawal of 23Red Racing after the season-opening Adelaide 500.
2021 also sees the team revert to the Dick Johnson Racing handle for the first time since 2014 following Penske’s exit of the sport at the end of the 2020 season.
Davison initially began his full-time Supercars career with DJR with three seasons between 2006 and 2008, finishing on the podium at the Bathurst 1000 with the team in 2007.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the championship winning team, and after a strong weekend at Bathurst, I feel I’m well-positioned to have my best season yet,” said Davison.
“I’ve always maintained close relationships with Dick (Johnson) and Ryan (Story) over the years. I’m massively motivated to be back where my Supercars career started, and I’m looking forward to working closely with Anton.”
Ryan Story, managing director for DJR, said the combination of De Pasquale and Davison would be an explosive one.
“They are an excellent combination,” said Story.
“They are both fast, they both have run on the board, and they will do very well for Dick Johnson Racing and the Shell V-Power Racing Team.
“Will is someone who is incredibly experienced and also well-known to the team.
“He kickstarted his full-time Supercars career here and drove for us from 2006 to 2008, so it’s somewhat of a homecoming, and we are pleased he’s joining the fold.
“In the case of Anton, he is one of the up-and-coming, next-generation drivers in the sport, and he’s shown his tremendous talent on the track and his professionalism off it. He’s a driver’s driver.”
The team’s 2020 line-up of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard is an interesting one.
McLaughlin has already announced he will be competing full-time in IndyCar next year.
Coulthard, meanwhile, finds himself without a current drive and with only a handful of seats available for him to fill. The only remaining drives exist at Kelly Racing and the Matt Stone entries.
It could be that the Kiwi opts to step away from a full-time career and focus on a co-driver role somewhere else on the grid or even potentially makes a transition to another code such as GT racing.
Coulthard did not make any mention of staying with DJR as a co-driver for 2021 when he announced his departure from the team.
“Will and Anton are great new additions to our team and I couldn’t be happier,” said team owner Dick Johnson.
“I’ve known Will forever, and he showed again at Bathurst his exceptional speed and maturity.
“Anton is someone who caught my eye even before joining Erebus in 2018 with his exploits overseas. He’s a real talent and a future champion of the sport.”