FRENCH driverAlex Premat will return to Garry Rogers Motorsport / Fujitsu Racing for a secondseason, following confirmation by team owner Garry Rogers this morning.
In Rogers 50th year of Motor Racing, his team has confirmed Premat's return alongside teenage rookie Scott McLaughlin who will drive the second Fujitsu-backed Holden this year fresh from his Dunlop V8 Supercars series title last year.
Despite adifficult opening season that saw the former DTM and open-wheel ace finish alowly 27th in the championship, Rogers told The Age journalist Mark Fogarty that he expected a second seasonwould boost the 30-year-old’s chances of V8 Supercars success.
“Alex was agamble last year and he struggled,” Rogers said.
"There was no doubt that he has theskills, but we didn’t get the best out of him. I was disappointed, based on hishistory we believed he could do better.
"From Abu Dhabi on he started to hit hisstraps. I was deciding what do with the driver line up, his qualifying andracing performance in Sydney was as good as many who have been driving the carsfor a number of years. It was disappointing that he had the issue with the coolsuit and wasn’t able to conclude what could have been a successful closure to2012.
"I decided I had invested a lot in him and he has invested in us, movinghis family over to Australia, we can get more out of him and more results likeSydney.”
Premat saidhe has set himself higher expectations for his second year in the category –one that will feature the racing debut of V8 Supercars Car of the Future and assuch a much more level playing field.
"Iam very happy to be back in 2013 with GRM and looking forward to the newseason. It is great to have a new team mate in Scott and we have developed agood relationship at the beginning of the year already," he said.
“Ihave set expectations to finish in the top 10 as everyone will be learning fromzero, with new cars, tyres and race formats and we will be doing the same. Iwant to start the year as I finished in 2012 and looking forward to theseason.”
The team alsoconfirmed that they had retained the services of endurance co-drivers JackPerkins and Greg Ritter for the 2013 Season of Endurance.
Experienced driver Ritter return for his 8th straight season with the team.
“Iam looking forward to my 8th straight year with GRM, as an endurance driver. Iam hoping to improve on my strong results from last year, and also working withsome new faces," Ritter said.
"Having done some of the testing with the car of the future, Ilook forward to helping the team throughout the year improve on what alreadyfeels like a good starting platform.”
Said Rogers of Perkins:
“Ihave been observing Jack’s performance over the past few years, in thedevelopment series and the endurance races, I liked his attitude towards hisracing. I spoke to him last year and as he had been to Bathurst so many times Ithought he was a good person to join the team and with Greg, this gave us amixture of youth and maturity.
"Jack did a super job in qualifying the car atBathurst last year and drove a well judged race with Alex. I was well aware hewas after a full time ride, including with us, we were very keen to have himjoin us again for the endurance season and be involved with the testing anddevelopment of our car of the future".
Rogers said that while the team traditionally waits to confirm driver line-ups until later in the season, it would be likely that Perkins would again join Premat with Ritter teaming with McLaughlin at Sandown and Bathurst.