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Top five: Star cameos for Dick Johnson Racing

ACROSS more than four decades, Dick Johnson Racing has compiled quite the history – as was celebrated by its 1000th championship race earlier this month at Bathurst.

Naturally, there’s been many amazing talents to link up with the team, the most prolific of whom were captured in V8 Sleuth’s recent ranking of DJR’s nine best ever drivers.

But there’s also been some iconic cameos, both in non-championship and championship capacities.

Here, we explore five of the most notable…

Larry Perkins, 1985

The #17 Mustang during the 1985 Bathurst 1000. Pic: an1images.com

Of the 400-plus ATCC/Supercars races (including non-championship) Perkins chalked up, just two came outside of the Holden camp.

Both occurred in the space of three weeks, Perkins – who had won the previous three Great Races with Peter Brock – forging an all-star combination with Dick Johnson at the 1985 Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000.

They couldn’t quite take the #17 Palmer Tube Mills Ford Mustang to glory though, finishing 19th at Sandown and seventh at Bathurst.

Allan Grice, 1994

The EB Falcon shared by Allan Grice and Steven Johnson. Pic: an1images.com

Grice too was a Holden man, claiming Great Race wins for the brand in 1986 and 1990.

But he jumped ship in 1994 to team up with a young Steven Johnson who was embarking on his first Bathurst 1000 campaign.

After finishing eighth at the Sandown curtain-raiser, Grice and ‘Junior’ enjoyed a solid run to seventh at Mount Panorama.

Alan Jones, 2002

Alan Jones and Greg Ritter’s AU Falcon. Pic: an1images.com

Jones is the second and most recent Australian to have been crowned Formula 1 world champion, back in 1980 while driving at Williams.

He continued to taste success much later upon returning Down Under, including finishing as ATCC runner-up in 1993.

It was not until his very last two ATCC/Supercars races that he lined up for DJR, sharing its second car with Greg Ritter at the 2002 Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000 for results of eighth and seventh.

They wound up comfortably outscoring the sister #17 of Steven Johnson/Paul Radisich (13th and DNF).

Glenn Seton, 2005

Glenn Seton at Wanneroo Raceway in 2005. Pic: an1images.com

Unlike Perkins and Grice, this was a case of two Ford heroes joining forces.

Two-time champion Seton is further an exception on this list, as a star who contested a full season at DJR – the last in his illustrious career.

MORE: Meet DJR’s new majority owner

The #18 seat had become a revolving door since Radisich’s exit at the end of 2002, with Max Wilson and then Warren Luff having single-year campaigns as Steven Johnson’s teammate before Seton picked up the baton.

Another trying season eventuated, neither Westpoint Falcon recording a top three race result.

Dario Franchitti, 2010

Dario Franchitti aboard the #17 entry at the 2010 Gold Coast 600. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

DJR’s 2010 season is known for its ups and downs but perhaps overlooked is the international drawcard it attracted for the Gold Coast round.

Franchitti hopped in the #17 with Steven Johnson for the event, and although results were lacking (16th and a DNF), it remains a very cool moment in team history.

The Scotsman is of course best known for his American open-wheel exploits, winning four IndyCar titles and the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions.

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