THE covers have come off the car that will launch Team Johnson into the 2017 Touring Car Masters Series, today at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
Steve and Dick Johnson today pulled the covers off the 1969 Ford Mustang, showcasing a stunning livery and major support from long-time backers WM Waste and Illusion Gas Log fires.
“We’re really excited to launch ‘Team Johnson’ and show off the Mustang for the first time,” Steve Johnson said.
“As always with any race team there are people behind the scenes that work really hard to make things happen. A huge thanks has to go to Ryan Story from DJRTP for helping to set up the whole ‘Team Johnson’ business.
“This was one of the integral parts that needed to be right from the word go for it to have any chance of success. Also Tony Warne for letting me contest the season in the Mustang, a car I have fond memories with from 2015. I hope I can continue its winning ways.”
“It’s great to launch our new family venture and we’re pumped to do it with some great people and loyal sponsors, some of whom have been long-time supporters and friends of both myself and Dad during the Dick Johnson Racing days.”
“We really want to focus our efforts on giving back to all our sponsors and fans – there are people who have been supporting the family since the beginning of the DJR days so it’s great to be able to give something back to them.”
Steve said it was also an exciting opportunity to go racing with ‘The old man’ once again.
“Dad is still heavily involved in DJR Team Penske but we wanted to do something together in motor racing for the pure enjoyment,” he said.
“The last few years I have been in the category, racing full-time in 2016 and part time in 2015 which I’ve really enjoyed.”
“The competition is great but the camaraderie off track is just as good.
“TCM is a great series and we love being involved. It’s a lot of fun but you can’t take it for granted. There is fierce competition on track with high quality cars and drivers involved. I love the challenge of racing against some of my childhood hero’s and mentors, and I still learn from them every time were racing wheel to wheel.
“I hope our involvement can help promote and grow the category even more which will ultimately benefit everyone involved in TCM, not just us.
“When big names like JB (John Bowe), Jim (Richards) and Glenn Seton joined TCM it boosted the popularity enormously which is great for everyone involved. I hope with Dad and I forming ‘Team Johnson’ in TCM we can help in a similar way.”
An enormous fan response has Johnson buoyed by the early prospects for the team: the outfit already gathering more than 11,000 followers on social media in just two weeks – and before even turning a lap on track.
“The fan reaction has gone way beyond what we thought it would and we’re really thrilled by that,” Johnson said.
“It’s a big reason why we’re doing this but even we didn’t expect for it to make the kind of impact that it has so far.
“In the past I’ve driven JB’s car and last year we jumped into the Tony Karanfilovski owned GTHO at the last minute with our existing supporters. It’s great this year to start from scratch and create the ‘Team Johnson’ brand from the ground up for our supporters and fans.”
“I can’t wait to get on track tomorrow and show off the new ‘Team Johnson’ car livery to everyone.”
The Touring Car Masters cars hit the track for first practice on Thursday morning at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.