V8 Supercar brothers Todd and Rick Kelly will drive for the same team and in the same colours full-time this season after the covers were officially taken off their Jack Daniel's Holden Commodores in Melbourne today.
The pair has established their own V8 Supercar operation during the off-season and it was at the new Kelly Racing headquarters in the Melbourne suburb of Braeside where the Jack Daniel's machines were unveiled for the first time.
Todd Kelly will drive the #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore while brother Rick will have the familiar #15 on the side of his Jack Daniel's Holden. Both cars will make their race debuts at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on March 19-22.
A common team and naming rights sponsor means that the Kelly brothers will not only have a major presence on track all season, but will also combine to form one of the strongest driver pairings for the annual endurance events at Phillip Island and Bathurst.
The only time that the two have raced together was in the 2006 endurance events when they drove the HSV Toll Commodore to second place at Bathurst's Mt Panorama as well as Sandown.
Brown-Forman, owners of the Jack Daniel's trademark, confirmed its support of the new team through Australian Managing Director Michael McShane.
The cars will contest all 14 championship rounds and the non-championship events at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and will continue to strongly promote Jack Daniel's 'Pace Yourself. Drink Responsibly' program.
Jack Daniel's joined the V8 Supercar ranks with Perkins Racing in 2006 and teams up with Kelly Racing after Larry Perkins brought an end to his racing operations to concentrate on the engineering side of his business at the end of last year.
Today's announcement means that Todd Kelly extends his relationship with Jack Daniel's after first being given the keys to the famous black and white #7 machine last season.
"I had an instant bond with Jack Daniel's and its key personnel last season at Perkins Racing and it's fantastic that they have joined us as our naming-rights partner," said Todd Kelly.
"Jack Daniel's is one of the strongest brands in the world and we are privileged to have it on the side of our cars in our debut season.
"Jack Daniel himself once said in reference to his Tennessee whiskey 'every day we make it, we'll make it the best we can', and I guess if we take the same attitude into our new racing operation we can only move forward.
"The Jack Daniel's management, staff and customer base are some of the best people I have had the pleasure of meeting in racing and I look forward to making our operation as competitive as possible for all of them in 2009."
Rick Kelly, who won the V8 Supercar Championship in 2006, believes that 2009 will be a "new beginning" for everyone involved with Kelly Racing.
"The support we have had from Jack Daniel's as we have gone through the tough months of establishing our own team has been incredible," said Rick.
"This is obviously an exciting year for our entire family because we have the responsibility of our own team, Todd and I get to race together as team-mates in V8 Supercar and we have all that to share with Jack Daniel's and everyone associated with the brand.
"Todd and I will be racing each other as hard as ever, but from now on I guess we will be a little happier if the other one manages a big result."
The partnering of Todd Kelly and Rick Kelly in 2009 provides the opportunity to further reinforce the 'Pace Yourself. Drink Responsibility' message, which is the core element of the Jack Daniel's Racing Platform said Jack Daniel's Australia Managing Director, Michael McShane.
"The ability to have high profile sportsmen Todd and Rick Kelly, to assist in promoting the importance of drinking responsibly is critically important and we are thrilled to be able to reinforce this message thorough our association with Kelly Racing," said McShane.
"Starting their own operation is a major step for the Kelly brothers, but we applaud their passion and commitment to the sport and believe they will both be great ambassadors for the Jack Daniel's brand.
"If the work ethic they have displayed over the last couple of months in structuring this team is any indication, I think we can expect some solid results."
The two-car Jack Daniel's team will be half of a four-car assault being fielded by Kelly Racing in 2009. Jack Perkins and Dale Wood will drive the team's remaining two Holden entries.
The Jack Daniel's Holdens will hit the track at Winton in North-East Victoria tomorrow for a initial shakedown, while all four Kelly Racing entries will return for an official V8 Supercar test day on Monday, March 9.