In a shock move, Garry Rogers Motorsport – Team Fujitsu – has signed former Spyker MF1 test driver Alexandre Premat to race in the V8 Supercars in 2012. Premat becomes the first international driver to compete in the series full-time.
I think most people down here were expecting GRM and Stone Brothers to do a straight swap, giving up Lee Holdsworth and taking Alex Davison. Or maybe putting Andrew Thompson, the development series champion, in the car.
I wouldn’t say it’s “BIG” news. It’s certainly newsworthy, if only because Premat is the first foreign driver to enter the series full-time, but I doubt he is going to make a big splash. GRM are a middling team; they’ve had the occasional race win here and there, but they’ve never really developed much in terms of consistency. I suspect they may even be looking at joining forces with a new manufacturer – like Chrysler – next year; Garry Rogers Motorsport, Brad Jones Racing and Tekno Autosports are the three teams I think are most likely to sign up for a new entrant.
He wasn’t too bad, and actually had a few very good drives (such as 3rd at Eastern Creek in 2003 in the wet), but was just too inconsistent.
I can’t see Premat doing too well this year, but perhaps it’s a move for the future, as in 2013 when the Car of the Future comes in, the handling is expected to be more like a DTM style race car, so it could suit internationals much more.
Well, I’ve heard that GRM are interested in joining with a new manufacturer – be it Chrysler or someone else – should they enter the sport next year. Of all the second-tier Holden teams, I think Rogers has gotten the best results with the least resources, so works funding from someone like Chrysler could be exactly what the team needs. I think a little bit of extra money could go a long way with them.
I don’t think Chrysler would be paying large sums of money though. I think that in the CotF era, extra manufacturers are basically only new sponsors like Vodafone or Fujitsu rather than being works entries.
I’d say Kelly Racing would be a more viable option for any manufacturer wanting to come in, as they have 4 cars that perform at a decent level, and no connection with Holden.
I guess the Kellys would have some loyalty to Holden, but realistically, at the moment, Holden’s not even sponsoring the team (note no Holden windscreen banners), so I think they would strongly consider any offers.
Same as Roland Dane, I’m sure he’d change manufacturers if someone offered a higher price.