In a move sure to be the surprise of the silly season, Garry Rogers Motorsport has officially replaced Stone Brothers Racing bound Lee Holdsworth. But instead of being an up and comer, like usual, Rogers has sprung for an international tin-top star from France.
Alexandre Premat will become one of only a small amount to international drivers to ever nab a full time ride in the V8 Supercar Series when he debuts for GRM in Adelaide at the Clipsal 500. Brazilian ex-F1 test driver Max Wilson was the last, but the most famous was Canadian (now Australian) Alan Moffatt.
Premat comes to Australia with some serious experience. A DTM driver for Audi since 2007 with a best championship result of 10th in 2008, 1st in the Le Mans Series in 2008 for Audi and a regular at the 24 Hour race. Prior to his long stint at Audi, Premat raced in the A1GP series for Team France, where he won the championship, and also raced in the GP2 Series next to Lewis Hamilton in 2006, where he finish 3rd to Hamilton’s 1st. Premat has also been a Formula 1 test driver for the now defunct Spyker F1 team.
Surprisingly it was Premat who made the first move rather than Rogers, with Speed reporting that he called Rogers after learning there was a vacancy. During his recover time from a severe DTM crash, he was able to watch multiple rounds of the V8 Supercar Series on cable TV in France.
Rogers has stated that he believes Premat is certainly the man for the job but is sad not to be able to hire another young gun. Premat was let go by Audi when it was discovered that instead of recovering from a crash, he went to New York and ran the marathon instead.
The V8 Supercar Series for 2012 kicks off on the 1st of March in Adelaide.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.