Abu Dhabi: Kelly Racing confirms Tony Ricciardello

KELLY RACING UNVEILS TONY RICCIARDELLO AND SUPER-MAX RAZORS COMMODORE IN ABU DHABI Kelly Racing has confirmed that Tony Ricciardello will drive the team's ...

KELLY RACING UNVEILS TONY RICCIARDELLO AND SUPER-MAX RAZORS COMMODORE IN ABU DHABI

Kelly Racing has confirmed that Tony Ricciardello will drive the team's #16 Holden Commodore in the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series, locking in the final seat on the grid for this season.

The entry will be backed by Super-Max Razors for the first two events of the season in the Middle East, with Ricciardello and Kelly Racing owners Todd and Rick Kelly unveiling the #16 Super-Max Razors Holden Commodore in pit lane at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi today.

Ricciardello, who hails from Perth, Western Australia, secures his first full-time drive in the V8 Supercar main game with this deal after making his V8 Supercar debut back in 1999.

The 30-year-old has an enormous pedigree in Australian motorsport as a record six-time Australian Sports Sedan Champion, as well as a previous winner of the Sepang 12 Hour in 2003 and a second place finisher at the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2009.

Long touted as a potential star, Ricciardello was hired by Kelly Racing last season for the Phillip Island and Bathurst endurance events, driving alongside fellow West Aussie Mark McNally.

Ricciardello has 14 previous starts in the V8 Supercar Championship Series and five Bathurst 1000 starts, as well as experience in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.

Team co-owner Todd Kelly said that Ricciardello has huge potential and he was excited to finally give the West Aussie a proper crack at V8 Supercars.

"We're all pumped about it," said Todd Kelly.

"Tony has got a lot of potential and for us it's a huge win to get him onboard for this year.

"He is a guy that has always had a massive amount of potential but has slipped under the radar year after year, so it's good for us to finally give him a decent crack at a full season.

"I think he will surprise a few people, especially from the mid-to-late part of the year."

"He is a great bloke. Rick and I and everyone in the team get along really well with Tony.

"He has done a fantastic job for us every time he's been in the car. He's been around for a while so he's sensible and he knows how to drive the car well."

Ricciardello admitted that it has been a long journey from him to finally reach his goal of a full-time V8 Supercar drive.

"You could probably say that it's been 10 or 11 years of progress that I've had behind me, trying to break in to get that full-time drive," said Ricciardello.

"It hasn't even really sunk in. Kelly Racing has been great to me over the last year and hopefully this year is going to be another great one and we can all look back at the end of the year and say that we've had a great season."

"The team is giving me a great car and it's awesome to have a new sponsor in Super-Max onboard for the events in the Middle East as well.

"I'm really excited. It's going to be a big weekend and I can't wait to hop into the Super-Max Commodore for first practice. New sponsor, new driver and a relatively new team attacking the newest circuit in the series at Yas Marina; It's going to be a great weekend and I can't wait."

Despite his experience and impressive racing resume, Ricciardello still sees himself as a V8 Supercar rookie.

"I might have been racing for 12 years or so but in this series I'm a rookie," said Ricciardello.

"I've got to prove myself to everyone else, that I belong and that I should stay here. I've just got to take it each step at a time.

"I've got great team-mates at Kelly Racing in Todd, Rick and Jason, who can give me a lot of knowledge and help me with all the issues as they arise during the year."

Founded in 1949, Super-Max is the second largest manufacturer of razor blades in the world and is sold in more than 140 countries. Almost one in every five blades used worldwide is a Super-Max blade.

Super-Max is also backing the Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodores of Todd and Rick Kelly this season, with Ricciardello's entry the first time the brand has taken major sponsorship on a V8 Supercar.

Warren Landt of WL&JM Enterprises Pty Ltd, distributors of Super-Max in the Australian & New Zealand market, said that sponsorship of Kelly Racing drives the sales of the brand's latest Four Blade Technology, which gives the consumer real value for money.

"We are very excited about being involved with Kelly Racing and Jack Daniel's Racing and look forward to working with the team to build the Super-Max brand in Australia and New Zealand," said Landt.

"It's great that we will have such a big presence at the first two events of the season with not only Todd and Rick, but Tony and the #16 Super-Max Commodore.

"It's a massive opportunity for us to grow the Super-Max brand with a huge presence at these two events on the doorstep of our new global headquarters here in the Middle East."

For further information please contact: Chris Jordan -- BAM Media: +61 412 936 338 Communications Manager -- Kelly Racing

Q&A with Kelly Racing driver Tony Ricciardello:

QUESTION: You must be ecstatic to have a full-time seat in the V8 Supercar Championship Series for the first time?

"You could probably say that it's been 10 or 11 years of progress that I've had behind me, trying to break in to get that full-time drive.

"It hasn't even really sunk in. Kelly Racing has been great to me over the last year and hopefully this year is going to be another great one and we can all look back at the end of the year and say that we've had a great season."

QUESTION: Does it help that you have had a bit to do with the team already, testing for the team and having raced at Phillip Island and Bathurst with Kelly Racing last year?

"Working with the team last year and getting to know the guys and working closely with them is a big help. It's hard enough going to a new track, so it's good that we can get stuck in at the first race and it does make it a little bit easier."

QUESTION: You have done a lot of racing in the past with a lot of success, but racing 15 events in V8 Supercars is surely a step up in a lot of ways?

"It's a big call and yes, I will not be used to racing so many races and doing longer races. I might have been racing for 12 years or so but in this series I'm a rookie.

"I've got to prove myself to everyone else, that I belong and that I should stay here. I've just got to take it each step at a time.

"I've got great team-mates at Kelly Racing in Todd, Rick (Kelly) and Jason (Bargwanna), who can give me a lot of knowledge and help me with all the issues as they arise during the year.

"I'm sure we can get on top of it and just enjoy the racing."

QUESTION: You will be a V8 Supercar rookie but you come in with a lot of experience and maturity and also some V8 Supercar experience. Does that give you an edge over some of the younger guys in the category?

"It is a mental game as much as it is a physical one and it's really mentally tough. I've had the lowest of lows and experienced a lot of different emotions and things over the years and I think having all that experience will hopefully give me an edge.

"Fitness is not an issue. I've been training six days a week and really I've been training and working towards getting this opportunity. Now it's a matter of getting in the car and doing what I'm supposed to do."

QUESTION: The first race of the year is a massive one over in Abu Dhabi. You have raced at Sepang but Abu Dhabi will be something else.

"It's going to be a new experience. I've raced at Sepang before and it's that sort of track with so many turns and it's very wide.

"Going to Abu Dhabi, no one has raced there before so I'm not actually behind the other drivers on that front, so I think it could be a little bit more of a level playing field.

"It's going to be a great event and it could be a little overwhelming to be there at that massive circuit realising that I'm part of this great series, so I'll need to keep on top of that."

QUESTION: Did you think that the opportunity of a full-time V8 Supercar drive would come? Or had you almost resigned yourself to the fact that you would be an endurance driver and race in other categories?

"I was trying for quite a lot of years to even just get endurance drives and this year again that's what I was concentrating on. Maybe that's the reason it all fell together easily? I didn't expect it to come together like it has so I am so grateful for the opportunity and the faith that Todd and Rick and all the guys at Kelly Racing have put in me.

"The team is giving me a great car and it's awesome to have a new sponsor in Super-Max onboard for the events in the Middle East as well.

"I'm really excited. It's going to be a big weekend and I can't wait to hop into the Super-Max Commodore for first practice. New sponsor, new driver and a relatively new team attacking the newest circuit in the series at Yas Marina; It's going to be a great weekend and I can't wait."

-source: kelly racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Todd Kelly , Mark McNally , Tony Ricciardello , Phillip Island