BRETT Ralph has opened up on his acquisition of a majority stake in Supercars squad Dick Johnson Racing and his vision for its future.
It was announced Monday that the Ralph family, via the Melbourne Aces baseball club they own, had joined Ryan Story and Dick Johnson as co-owners of what is commercially known as the Shell V-Power Racing Team.
Speaking exclusively with V8 Sleuth, Ralph described himself and brother Shaun as sports enthusiasts.
“When you are presented with an opportunity like this, why would you pass it up?” said the Jet Couriers managing director.
“We have very much enjoyed our involvement with the other teams, we have been very successful there; we’re sports lovers – most Australians are sports lovers – and when this opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it with both hands.”
Jet Couriers’ status as a personal sponsor of Anton De Pasquale, featuring on his helmet, over the past four years heightened Ralph’s involvement in the motorsport sector.
His initial dealings with team founder Johnson only furthered his desire to get involved.
“He’s an icon of the sport. Anyone who knows anything even vaguely about the sport knows who Dick Johnson is,” said Ralph.
“My limited interactions with him so far have been fantastic, I can’t believe what a warm person he is: very engaging, inspiring, and he continues to be the heart and soul of this team. He inspires everybody here.”
Although the revised DJR ownership structure doesn’t formally take effect until January 2023, Ralph will be present at the Sandown SuperSprint this coming weekend.
His vision for the team moving forward does not necessarily see him becoming its public figurehead.
“Our model with our other sporting organisations has been to assist teams that are already successful in their own right to continue to be successful,” Ralph explained.
“With this team, Ryan Story will continue to be every bit as involved as he has been up to this date, and of course it’s not DJR without Dick.
“So they will be continuing to fulfil the roles that they currently fulfil and our approach will be to bring business and strategic support to the team whilst trusting in their knowledge of motorsport.
“I’ll be involved behind the scenes in the direction and strategy but in terms of the interaction with (rival team bosses and Supercars management), I’ll leave it to the experts, and I trust in their proven ability in those areas.”
As for returning DJR to the top of the sport, having won three straight drivers’ championships with Scott McLaughlin from 2018 to 2020 before an ongoing 18-month period of dominance for Triple Eight Race Engineering?
“I think that comment is probably narrowed to a fairly short period of time,” Ralph replied.
“If you look over a longer period of time, I think I’m already with the most successful team in Supercars and I intend to assist to ensure that that continues to be the case.
“This is Australia’s best motor racing team.”
Dick Johnson Racing/DJR Team Penske has more ATCC/Supercars drivers’ championships than any other team in history, with 10.