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Tuesday, June 25, 2024


AS the countdown continues to Dick Johnson Racing’s 1000th race in Repco Supercars Championship history, V8 Sleuth looks at the Ford team’s greatest ever drivers.

Many have contributed to the squad’s wins, poles, podiums and championships tallies, so ranking them is no easy feat.

MORE: DJR to run special livery at Bathurst

But hey, we’ll give it a shot, so here is V8 Sleuth’s best nine DJR drivers from over the years – plus a few honourable mentions.

Disclaimer: Only championship races are taken into account.

9. Alex Premat

Alex Premat (left) won the 2019 Bathurst 1000 with Scott McLaughlin. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

Perhaps a controversial inclusion, but the fact of the matter is Premat is one of five drivers in history to have conquered The Mountain in DJR colours.

Premat in fact has never been beaten at Bathurst since that day in 2019, COVID-19 having prevented him from returning with Tickford Racing in the years that followed.

All up, the Frenchman has two wins from 12 starts for DJR, having also won with Scott McLaughlin at the 2017 Gold Coast 600.

8. Fabian Coulthard

Fabian Coulthard is the most recent Supercars race winner at Phillip Island. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

While often playing second-fiddle to McLaughlin, Coulthard had a hand in all three of DJR’s teams’ championship triumphs.

A Penske favourite, Coulthard himself contended for the 2017 drivers’ crown.

In 144 races across five seasons, he recorded eight wins and a further 23 podiums.

7. Will Davison

Will Davison celebrates at Eastern Creek in 2008. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

By the end of next season, Davison will be the most capped DJR driver outside of the Johnson family.

During his first stint at DJR from 2005-2008, he broke the team’s seven-year victory drought with his maiden Supercars win. He returned in style more than a decade on and has become the qualifying king of 2022 with a stunning nine pole positions so far this season.

To date, Davison’s record stands at 170 races, five wins and a further 25 podiums.

6. Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson at Winton in 2010. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

The son of Dick debuted with the team at the Oran Park season finale in 1994 but didn’t begin his run of 13 successive full-time seasons until 2000, all of which were at DJR.

Johnson is the record-holder for DJR race starts with 414.

Although his win tally is lower than most others on this list – three – he was a consistent top 10 presence throughout as various teammates came and went.

5. Paul Radisich

Paul Radisich earnt a rare driver ‘grand slam’ at Wanneroo in 2001, taking pole, leading every lap in winning all three races and setting the fastest lap in each. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

The former British Touring Car Championship regular was tasked with keeping DJR at the front when Dick Johnson and John Bowe passed the baton on.

Across four seasons, ‘The Rat’ experienced mixed fortunes: finishing fourth in the 2000 championship but just 26th two years later.

On the whole though, his eight race wins were critical to keeping the DJR momentum rolling.

4. James Courtney

Dick Johnson, James Courtney and Charlie Schwerkolt celebrate victory at Winton in 2010. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

There were plenty of ups and downs through James Courtney’s two seasons at DJR but no one can ever take the 2010 championship off of him and his crew.

Courtney replaced Holden Racing Team-bound Davison for 2009 and wasted little time in chalking up his first podium and then win with the team.

The next season he took down Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight in thrilling circumstances – but would never race for DJR again as things fell apart behind the scenes during his title campaign.

3. John Bowe

John Bowe and Dick Johnson at a Shell Australian Touring Car Championship press conference in 1994, their seventh season as teammates. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Bowe was half of the dynamic duo that spearheaded DJR for more than a decade (and 196 races in total).

He conquered the Bathurst 1000 with Dick Johnson in both 1989 and 1994, and won the ATCC title in 1995.

No DJR driver has netted more top three finishes than Bowe’s 83. Within that figure was 30 race wins.

2. Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin celebrating winning the 2019 Supercars Championship. Pic: Supercars

There could be an argument to suggest McLaughlin is one spot too low in this list, but we’re sure he’ll settle for second in this case.

McLaughlin’s four years at DJR Team Penske from 2017 were utterly dominant.

We’ll let the numbers do the talking: 113 races, 80 podiums, 48 wins, three championships.

1. Dick Johnson

Dick Johnson celebrates his victory in the 1994 Bathurst 1000. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Of course, there can be no other name atop this list than Johnson himself.

Johnson founded the famous Ford team more than 40 years ago and next month will see it chalk up its 1000th championship race.

Beyond being the iconic figurehead, Johnson’s on-track successes included 30 wins and 82 top threes from 321 championship races, three Bathurst 1000s and five ATCC titles.

Honourable mentions

Anton De Pasquale could be considered unlucky to miss the cut here. In his first 60 races for the team, he has amassed seven race wins – and there’s little doubt he’ll be moving up this list sooner than later.

Among high-profile internationals to have made cameo appearances for DJR in championship races are Dario Franchitti and Allan Simonsen.

And from the non-championship scene, it would be remiss not to mention John French, who won the 1981 Bathurst 1000 with Johnson aboard an XD Falcon.

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