THE TRANSPORTER that hauled Dick Johnson Racing Fords around the country for the last 26 years will carry on in 2021, but with a new team.
DJR has made the switch to newer machinery this year and sold its long-standing car-carrier to the Blanchard Racing Team, which is fielding a single Mustang in CoolDrive colours.
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The trusty transporter debuted with DJR back in 1995 – the year the iconic team won the Australian Touring Car Championship with John Bowe.
It continued through the team’s various eras, including the last six years under majority ownership from Team Penske, before finally being moved on.
“There’s been a few colours on it over the years,” Dick Johnson mused to V8 Sleuth. “We said to the Blanchards that if you peel it back far enough, you’ll get blue anyway!”
Asked about the secret to the longevity of the transporter, Johnson added: “We just built it properly in the first place.
“When I was doing NASCAR racing in America I saw how they’d put out their trucks and everything would roll on and roll off. I thought that was the way to go and that’s what we did.
“We drew it all up on computer, measured everything and made sure it fit, and then built it with some good old Palmer Tube Mills product!
“We were the first ones to have a proper back door with a motor on each side and I reckon that door is still the quickest in pit lane!
“Over the years we added an A-trailer and tarted a few things up, but structurally we’ve never had a problem, it’s never twisted or anything.
“Roger [Penske] thought it was the best truck ever. That’s why he didn’t want to replace it!”
According to Johnson, the reason for upgrading was the difficulty of ensuring the dual-axle transporter remained under its legal weight limit when loaded with two cars and equipment.
Its tri-axle replacement was purchased back in 2019 from 23Red Racing, having been no longer required by Phil Munday’s outfit once it moved into the Tickford Racing fold.
After undergoing a rebirth, the transporter’s first official duty in Shell V-Power Racing colours was taking the squad’s two brand new Mustang chassis to Queensland Raceway last week.
“We tore everything out of the inside and did a rebuild on it,” said Johnson. “The guys have done a bloody great job putting all new flooring in it and everything. It’s bloody brilliant.”
DJR’s previous trailer has likewise been refurbished by the Blanchard team and was at Phillip Island for a ride day earlier this month in its new CoolDrive colours.