Sunday 20 January 2013 10:03
By: V8 Supercars
FRENCH driver Alex Premat will return to Garry Rogers Motorsport / Fujitsu Racing for a second season, 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 a difficult opening season that saw the former DTM and open-wheel ace finish a lowly 27th in the championship, Rogers told The Age journalist Mark Fogarty that he expected a second season would boost the 30-year-old’s chances of V8 Supercars success.
“Alex was a gamble last year and he struggled,” Rogers said.
"There was no doubt that he has the skills, but we didn’t get the best out of him. I was disappointed, based on his history we believed he could do better.
"From Abu Dhabi on he started to hit his straps. I was deciding what do with the driver line up, his qualifying and racing performance in Sydney was as good as many who have been driving the cars for a number of years. It was disappointing that he had the issue with the cool suit and wasn’t able to conclude what could have been a successful closure to 2012.
"I decided I had invested a lot in him and he has invested in us, moving his family over to Australia, we can get more out of him and more results like Sydney.”
Premat said he 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 as such a much more level playing field.
"I am very happy to be back in 2013 with GRM and looking forward to the new season. It is great to have a new team mate in Scott and we have developed a good relationship at the beginning of the year already," he said.
“I have set expectations to finish in the top 10 as everyone will be learning from zero, with new cars, tyres and race formats and we will be doing the same. I want to start the year as I finished in 2012 and looking forward to the season.”
The team also confirmed that they had retained the services of endurance co-drivers Jack Perkins and Greg Ritter for the 2013 Season of Endurance.
Experienced driver Ritter return for his 8th straight season with the team.
“I am looking forward to my 8th straight year with GRM, as an endurance driver. I am hoping to improve on my strong results from last year, and also working with some new faces," Ritter said.
"Having done some of the testing with the car of the future, I look forward to helping the team throughout the year improve on what already feels like a good starting platform.”
Said Rogers of Perkins:
“I have been observing Jack’s performance over the past few years, in the development series and the endurance races, I liked his attitude towards his racing. I spoke to him last year and as he had been to Bathurst so many times I thought he was a good person to join the team and with Greg, this gave us a mixture of youth and maturity.
"Jack did a super job in qualifying the car at Bathurst last year and drove a well judged race with Alex. I was well aware he was after a full time ride, including with us, we were very keen to have him join us again for the endurance season and be involved with the testing and development 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.