The V8 SuperTourers class has scored another coup, with Steve Richards set to saddle up in the second JMR Ford Falcon.
Richards, a two-time Bathurst winner, will compete in the inaugural season alongside team owner/driver John McIntyre.
Richards and McIntyre, who will both also act as V8 Supercars endurance drivers for Ford Performance Racing, start a three-day test program at Taupo today. Besides the prototype, it will be the first time that a race-prepared V8 SuperTourer has hit the race track.
McIntyre says he wanted a proven race winner in the second JMR FG Falcon V8 SuperTourer.
“With Steve, we get this winning heritage plus his incredible ability and experience with a range of race cars,” McIntyre said.
“This will play a big part in helping JMR develop the best set-up for both race cars in the first season.”
Richards says he's really looking forward to sinking his teeth into the new challenge with JMR, which will fit in around his commitments in the 2012 City Index Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship.
“The V8 SuperTourers Championship will bring a whole new level of professional touring car racing to New Zealand fans,” Richards said.
“The concept that has been developed is exactly the right model to take touring car racing in New Zealand to the next level. These cars will be incredibly fast and will bridge the gap and prepare young Kiwi drivers who may dream of driving in Australia's V8 Supercars Championship someday.
“The quality of drivers and teams will be second to none, and I am naturally incredibly excited to join John and his team at JMR.”
Richards' FG Falcon will carry CRC branding and the number #556.
McIntyre says he is taking a NASCAR-style approach with the #556 car this season.
“The car's livery will change during the year,” he said.
“It will have a different naming rights sponsor for each round.”
The opening V8 SuperTourer round at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over the weekend of February 17-19.