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Story returns, Lacroix departs in DJR shake-up

DICK Johnson Racing has swung significant change in a bid to return to the front of the Repco Supercars Championship in 2024.

Headlining the reshuffle is Ryan Story’s return as team principal, and the departure of guru engineer Ludo Lacroix.

The knock-on effect of those movements see Ben Croke revert to team manager (from team principal), chief engineer Perry Kapper take over as race engineer for Anton De Pasquale, and Mark Fenning appointed director of engineering.

Richard Harris will continue working with #17 Shell V-Power Mustang driver Will Davison.

“2023 was a challenging year for us and certainly not at the level we aspire to be,” said CEO David Noble.

“We have learnt an enormous amount this year not only about the cars but in particular about ourselves. We have spent time reviewing the year and considering change.

“We pay tribute to the enormous effort of our staff and particularly thank Ludo for his contribution over many years and respect his decision to step back.

“In welcoming back Ryan to the fold and to have the experience and depth of talent in Mark Fenning and Perry Kapper in our engineering department, we have begun our 2024 preparations in earnest.”

DJR is coming off a difficult season in which it slumped to fifth in the teams’ championship – its worst result in seven years.

Story returns to the helm having stepped back into a reduced capacity as chairman and team co-owner at the end of 2020.

Ryan Story (left) with Supercars photographer Mark Horsburgh. Pic: Ross Gibb

He had overseen the squad’s trio of drivers’ and teams’ championships during the Team Penske/Scott McLaughlin era.

MORE: Ex-DJR driver behind new TCR team

“Following a few years of health challenges, I’m delighted to return to the role of team principal,” Story said.

“We have a strong foundation upon which to build, and this restructure is all about looking towards the future for the Shell V-Power Racing Team.”

“Ludo will be sorely missed and we cannot thank him enough for his contribution to our successes over many years.

“Mark and Perry in particular have led us through the Windshear program and redressing the imbalances that have faced us in 2023. I’m excited at the challenges ahead of us!”

Team founder Dick Johnson hailed Story’s return: “Ryan is like a son to me and to welcome him back into this role means the world to all of us.

“We have great people, the best supporters and the best partners in the business. Bring on 2024!”

Adding to DJR’s plate in 2024 will be its takeover of the Ford Supercars engine program, after buying out Herrod Performance Engines.

That will see it supply and service the motors of all five Blue Oval teams going forward.

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