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Analysis: Beyond Penske and McLaughlin

The double blow of losing Team Penske’s ownership and championship-winning driver Scott McLaughlin leaves the rebranded Dick Johnson Racing facing the pressure of maintaining its winning form without those two key assets, as we analyse in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #119. 

24 January 2021

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #119.

DJR Team Penske reverts back to Dick Johnson Racing in 2021, with Team Penske withdrawing its ownership stake in the Queensland-based team. With Scott McLaughlin moving with Team Penske to IndyCars and Fabian Coulthard also departing, Dick Johnson Racing will feature an all-new line-up of Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison next season. 

Speculation over McLaughlin and Penske’s future in Supercars increased over 2020, with Penske unhappy over the controversies surrounding the team’s win at Bathurst in 2019. And, following the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and Penske taking over the ownership of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the decision was made to pull out of Supercars. 

Dick Johnson and Ryan Story assume majority ownership of the team, which changes back to the Dick Johnson Racing name that was last used in 2014. 

DJR Team Penske claimed 56 wins, including the 2019 Bathurst 1000, 62 pole positions, three teams’ championships and three drivers’ titles with Scott McLaughlin between 2015 and 2020. 

Penske’s ownership lifted the team into a powerhouse in Supercars, after financial hardships that followed championship success in 2010. Story’s involvement helped the team avoid collapse, paving the way for the arrival of Penske. The challenge now is to maintain its recent level of success without the Penske presence. 

McLaughlin heads to IndyCars to join Team Penske’s multiple championship and Indy 500-winning team, following three consecutive Supercars championship wins and a Bathurst 1000 victory. 

“As we enter the next chapter at DJR, we look forward to what lies ahead for our team” says Johnson. 

“It has been an honour to partner with Roger Penske and everyone from Team Penske over these last six seasons, but we understand the challenges that everyone has faced worldwide in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’re thankful that we were able to conclude our partnership with our third driver and team championships together. We want to thank Scott for his professionalism on and off the track. 

“We know Scott is in a great position with Team Penske for the future, and we wish him all the luck in the world as he begins his IndyCar career. 

“The future is also very bright at DJR. We have truly amazing people in our team ““ the same people that have been the driving force behind the race wins and championships we have won over the past six years. 

“We also have a fantastic and committed group of partners, who remain in lockstep with us for 2021 and beyond, and some of the most passionate and loyal fans in motorsport. With that kind of support and experience, we are ready to build on our success with the Shell V-Power Racing Team.”

Dick Johnson Racing, founded in 1980 and celebrating its 40th Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars season in 2021, will continue as Ford’s homologation team with the Gen3 version of the Mustang being introduced in 2022.

“We have been proud to work with Team Penske and represent the professionalism, ethics, effort and success of the Penske brand since 2015″ says Story. 

“We thank Roger Penske, Tim Cindric and everyone at Team Penske for their partnership, their friendship and their guidance. Together, we have built a championship team and cultivated an exceptional group of partners that engage on a business-to-business level that represents the very best of any sporting organisation in Australia and New Zealand. 

“DJR is in a great position to move forward, and we are more energised than ever about the future of our team.”

De Pasquale moves to the team after an impressive three-year stint with Erebus Motorsport, which netted a maiden win in 2020. Davison lost his full-time drive with the departure of 23 Red Racing in 2020, returning to a Dick

Johnson Racing team that he raced with from 2005 to 2008, scoring his first win in the latter. 

McLaughlin will return to Australia to race in the Bathurst 1000 with Dick Johnson Racing in October, with the IndyCar season set to finish in September.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #119 within Australia.

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