PROVEN PARTNERSHIPS FOR SHELL V-POWER RACING TEAM
January 30, 2017
GOLD COAST, QLD (January 31, 2016) - International racing superstar and reigning Pirtek Enduro Cup Champion Alex Prémat will join the Shell V-Power Racing Team in 2017 on a multi-year deal, whilst category stalwart Tony D'Alberto will return to the team for a second year.
34-year-old Prémat demonstrated sensational speed across all three endurance races in 2016 to win the Pirtek Enduro Cup, and joins Shell V-Power Racing Team where he will rekindle his partnership with new-for-2017 Penske recruit Scott McLaughlin.
With experience across open-wheelers, Le Mans, DTM, Supercars and more, Prémat is perfectly placed to assist McLaughlin to a top result in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
"I am very excited to be joining the Shell V-Power Racing Team for 2017 and beyond, and also to be driving with Scott McLaughlin again," said Prémat.
"Scott and I formed a close friendship when we were teammates, and enjoy working with one another so I am sure that it will be a very strong partnership."
"Many people doubted my credentials when I returned to Supercars racing last year, and I was able to prove them wrong with strong performances across all of the three endurance races. This year, with the Shell V-Power Racing Team, I will be looking to defend my Pirtek Enduro Cup title and take some more silverware home too."
31-year-old Tony D'Alberto returns to the Shell V-Power Racing Team for the second year running, and will make the switch to car #12 alongside Fabian Coulthard for the 2017 Pirtek Enduro Cup.
D'Alberto, who shared a car with Coulthard in the 2005 endurance series, showed strong form in 2016 with a best result of 5th in the Bathurst 1000 alongside Scott Pye.
"It's fantastic that the team has shown faith in me and given me the opportunity to return for a second year," D'Alberto said.
"I really enjoyed my stint here last year, and am excited to be joining Fabian in the #12. He and I have a bit of history racing with each other, so it's great to be bringing that pairing back together."
Shell V-Power Racing Team Managing Director Ryan Story said that the signing of Prémat was a key piece of recruitment for the Queensland based outfit, and that retaining D'Alberto was a simple decision.
"Alex is a proven performer, who last year demonstrated that when given quality equipment and a good team structure, he is as good as anyone out there," said Story.
"Tony is a guy that fits into our team really well, and is another proven performer with runs on the board. I'm very excited about our combinations for this year."
"With these combinations, and our strong engineering division led by Ludo Lacroix, I expect strong results from the team throughout the Pirtek Enduro Cup, and the entire 2017 season."
Scott McLaughlin – who joins Shell V-Power Racing Team as driver of the #17 Shell V-Power Ford this season – said he was looking forward to working alongside Prémat once more.
"Alex was absolutely the number one choice to co-drive with me in 2017. He and I know each other very well, get along brilliantly and know what the other is capable of, so we will look to be contenders in all three endurance races," McLaughlin said.
Fabian Coulthard, who will drive the #12 Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford in his second season with the team, said that he was looking forward to working with D'Alberto.
"The endurance section of the season is crucial to your overall Championship performance, so knowing that your car is in safe hands is a massive confidence boost," Coulthard said.
The 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship kicks off with the Clipsal 500 Adelaide across March 2-5. The Pirtek Enduro Cup encompasses the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600, starting at Sandown from September 15-17.