Andrew Jones signs with Tasman Motorsport for 2006 V8 Supercar Series

AFTER testing three drivers last week at Winton Motor Raceway, Tasman Motorsport has signed Andrew Jones to join Jason Richards in its two-car Holden Commodore team for the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series assault.

The 25-year-old has signed a one year deal with an option for 2007 to drive the team's #23 Commodore next year, debuting at the Clipsal 500 in late March.

"I know everyone says this when they sign a deal, but I am absolutely wrapt," said Jones, the 2004 V8 Supercar Development Series champion.

"It wasn't the perfect way to end the year with what happened with my previous team but this turns things around for sure.

"It's exciting to step into a team that has come so far in the last 12 months with podium finishes at the two biggest races of the year at Sandown and Bathurst. The team has a really great vibe to it and that's important too.

"When you add in the engineering platform that the team now has via its links with Ron Harrop as well, you have a strong combination."

Team principal Kevin Murphy said that the selection of Jones was reached after careful considerations between Tasman Motorsport's management and engineering departments.

"We've made a choice based on our very successful evaluation day at Winton where all three drivers had equal time in the car," said Murphy.

"All three did a really great job. They were all easy to work with and the team felt any one of them would have fitted in well with our program.

"Overall, we have chosen Andrew because he displayed the out of the box speed that's necessary in the category.

"The fact that he's come off a season in the main series as well as winning the Development Series in 2004 assisted him, whereas it made it harder for the others having come from just doing the endurance races."

Jones, who finished fourth at Bathurst this year in partnership with Cameron McConville, will have a very busy time over the next few weeks. In addition to his new drive he will also marry fiancée Michelle in Melbourne on January 6.