Steve Johnson Co-Drives with Erebus Motorsport V8
11 June 2013
For the first time in V8 Supercar history, racing stalwart Steve Johnson will not be driving a Dick Johnson Racing prepared car when he lines up for the endurance season, instead he will be joining the Erebus Motorsport V8 (EMV8) team and co-driving with #9 SP Tools Racing driver Maro Engel.
The 2013 Endurance Championship season comprises of the Sandown 500 in Victoria, the iconic Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama in New South Wales, and the Gold Coast 600 in Queensland.
Johnson said he is now in a position where he can concentrate on what he loves most – racing – keeping in with the 39 year tradition of the Johnson family name lining up on the grid at Bathurst.
“Today’s announcement about me driving for Erebus Motorsport V8 in the endurance series is really exciting for me. For all my career I’ve raced for Dick Johnson Racing under the Ford banner, so I’m now not only driving for a different team, I’m also driving a different marque of car.
“Of course my decision not to drive at DJR was a big one, but I believe the opportunities the team has to develop young talent will be a big focus as DJR re-emerges. It is important they capitalise on these objectives and in turn I can concentrate my attention on the long distance races. I will have no other hats on and I can concentrate 100% on doing the best job I can with the Erebus team and with Maro.
“It’s going to be very interesting for me to see how another team operates and I’m hoping this will help me further develop as a driver. Working with new people and forging new relationships in such a short time is going to be an enjoyable challenge.
“In the past I’ve been renowned as an endurance specialist, so I’m expecting to do well. I think the SP Tools Racing entry will have some strong results over the endurance series. Maro has certainly done a lot of racing in his career and he is a world-class driver. Hopefully I can help him learn the tracks, in particular Bathurst, but I’m sure there are many things he can also teach me.
“It will definitely be a team effort, both Maro and I are here to do well and we are really looking forward to working together,” said Johnson.
With 2013 being his rookie year, #9 SP Tools Racing driver Maro Engel is confident that Johnson’s vast endurance experience will help him quickly learn the tracks.
“It’s hugely exciting news to have Steve on board as my co-driver. It’s going to be his 19th Bathurst and he has a long successful career in racing and a very good track record at endurance races.
“I’m looking forward to working with him closely to ensure we can be as competitive as we can be. I’m sure he will have some secret tips he can share with me about all three endurance tracks - especially Bathurst, which I like to refer to as the ‘Blue Hell’ because it is the Australian version of Nurburgring Nordschleife which is known as the ‘Green Hell’.
“I think I’ll be able to learn a lot from Steve so I’ll be listening very carefully to all his advice and comments. In terms of car development, I think he will also be able to give us great feedback as he has driven a number of new V8 Supercars over the years.
“The endurance races are the most exciting part of the season with Bathurst being the pinnacle and now with Steve on board I am really looking forward to it. We want to get good results and although it is my first time at all these tracks I’m sure we will counteract that with Steve’s huge amount of experience,” said Engel.
Erebus Motorsport CEO Ryan Maddison believes that the experience of Johnson coupled with Engel’s talent is an ideal driver mix.
“We are very pleased to be able to sign Steven Johnson for our endurance driver line up. Steven will be a strong co-driver for Maro in the #9 SP Tools Racing entry with his extensive experience, and this will allow the team to focus on strategy to get the most from the driver pairing.
“I think the rookie and veteran combination of Maro and Steven will work very well and their individual strengths will complement each other as they work closely together over the next few months.
“With 18 Bathurst’s to his name there are few who can support Maro in his first year the way that Steven will. Betty is equally pleased to see Steven compete in this year’s V8 endurance events with the Erebus Motorsport team,” said Maddison.
Manageing Director of SP Tools said:
"We’re very excited to have Steve join Maro for the enduro’s.
"The first driver SP sponsored in V8’s was Dick Johnson and we were his sponsor the last time Dick won Bathurst back in the nineties.
"Lets hope a Johnson getting back together with the SP brand brings us the same luck this time round."
About Steve Johnson:
V8 Supercars Championship Stats
Event Starts end 2012 - 205
Race Starts end 2012 - 415
Race Wins - 3
Top 3 Finish -17
Top 10 Finish- 166
Poles - 2
Front Row Qualifying - 9
Best Championship - 5th 2001
2012 Best Qualifying - 3rd in Top 10 Shootout, Race 29 Sydney Telstra 500
2012 Best Result - 3 Top 10 results in 2012
Bathurst Career Stats
Starts - 19
Finishes - 14
Top 10 Finish - 9
Top 5 Finish - 4
Podiums - 1
Best Qualifying -2nd in 2000
Average Qualifying - 10th