Ford not assured for DJR in V8 Supercars

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/05/2013
  • By AAP

In what would be blasphemy to diehard fans, the man synonymous with Ford in Australian motorsport, Dick Johnson, admits he may switch to another manufacturer after the Falcon bows out in 2016.

The three-time Bathurst 1000 winner vowed that his Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) team would remain in V8 Supercars "long into the future."

However, Johnson conceded he may not be flying the Ford flag that accompanied his record-equalling five Australian touring car championship wins and made him a household name.

Johnson kept the door open to link with another manufacturer in the future amid talk US giant Chrysler is tipped to join this season's newcomers Mercedes and Nissan in the V8 fold next year.

"Nothing stays still in this business," Johnson said.

"We have already seen Nissan and the customer Mercedes brands emerge this year so it is logical to think that there will be others that see V8 Supercars as a good marketing tool.

"It may be a Ford product for us, it may not be."

V8 Supercars chairman Mark Skaife has claimed "at least one" manufacturer will join in 2014 with an announcement expected by the end of the year.

Either way, Johnson believed the DJR name would live on in V8s even if Falcon did not.

"My association goes back a long, long way and the Ford and DJR brands have achieved some great success in motorsport," he said.

"We have enjoyed a very special relationship which has produced a loyal fan base for both our brands.

"Clearly with the Falcon finishing up in 2016 as a locally produced car it will have an effect on our racing program.

"Will we still be racing Fords then? I don't know but Ford will continue to sell cars here and I can assure you we intend to be racing V8 Supercars out of the DJR workshops long into the future."

Ford has not made a decision on their V8 team's future after announcing on Thursday they will cease manufacturing operations in Australia in three years, costing 1200 jobs.

Six cars feature in the 28-strong 2013 V8 field - two with DJR and four with factory-backed Ford Performance Racing (FPR).

If Ford remain in V8s it is tipped to race the US-made Fusion sedan seen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

V8 Supercars said they expected Ford to be involved in the category until "at least" 2016.

"Ford has an enormously proud and successful racing heritage globally as well as here in Australia with the Falcon, the Mustang, Sierra and Cortina," they said in a statement.

"We expect that to continue for at least the next three years and beyond."

Meanwhile, FPR co-owner Rod Nash has dismissed rumours they had approached BMW amid drawn out negotiations to extend their Ford contract for three years.

Speculation was rife that FPR - who are off contract with Ford at the end of the season - were considering linking with the German manufacturers.

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