Dr Ryan Story returns as DJR Team Principal in 2024
Story previously led team in purple patch of over 60 wins and three titles
DJR won one race and claimed three more podiums in 2023
The return of Dr Ryan Story has "energised" all of Dick Johnson Racing to go big in 2024, says Anton De Pasquale.
This year, Story returns to full-time Team Principal duties at the Shell V-Power Racing Team for the first time since 2020.
Story was at the helm in the team’s purple patch between 2017 and 2020, when it won three drivers’ titles and claimed over 60 wins, including the 2019 Bathurst 1000.
DJR scored just four podiums and a win last season, with the team battling over the early rounds for consistency.
By year’s end, De Pasquale and Will Davison were eighth and 10th in the drivers’ standings, and fifth in teams’, being beaten to top Ford spot by Tickford Racing.
However, with Story behind the wheel, De Pasquale feels DJR is motivated to return to the very top.
“Ryan has come back into the fold, which is pretty cool. Everyone’s working hard and the vibe is really high,” De Pasquale told Supercars.com.
“It's amazing that he feels he not only can come back, but he’s fit and ready to go. He’s really energised, like we all are, to get results this year.
“He brings a different dynamic to the team and obviously has a wealth of experience. It’s really cool, the dynamic we have in the team at the moment is exciting.
“Everyone's keen to sink their teeth into this year, given all that went down last year. We want to get to Bathurst and go racing, which is the fun stuff.
“We’re all motivated to have a big year this year, which is exciting for us.”
Story, who was recognised in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours as a Member of the Order of Australia, stepped down from the Team Principal role at the start of 2021.
He made a number of trackside appearances amid ongoing health issues, but remained busy with his DJR roles, along with ambassadorship with Camp Quality and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
During that time, he was also a key player in Indigenous motorsport participation and STEM program Racing Together.
The end-season reshuffle saw Ludo Lacroix depart the team, ultimately departing for PremiAir Racing. De Pasquale will now be engineered by Perry Kapper, who oversaw the Gen3 homologation process for the Ford camp.
Kapper was instrumental in the recent wind tunnel testing in the United States, and is now crucial to De Pasquale’s hopes of becoming a victory lane regular in 2024.
After a busy off-season, De Pasquale says the iconic Ford team is itching to get to Mount Panorama, where De Pasquale finished third in last October's Repco Bathurst 1000, and start the new season on a high.
“It’s been full-on, pretty much from the last round in Adelaide to now,” De Pasquale said.
“Some of the team went to the States for the wind tunnel testing, there was the reshuffle as well on top of that.
“It’s that time of year after you get through Christmas and New Year’s, and you get a bit restless and want to start looking into things and how you can improve.
“Last year’s issues were obvious and we missed the ball a few times, but we still managed to get some great results throughout. That proves that when we do get it right, the potential is there. We need to put that into practice and be more consistent this year.
“We’re always hunting and always will be.”
DJR will test at Queensland Raceway on Monday February 5 ahead of the season-opening Thrifty Bathurst 500. Tickets are on sale now.