British endurance racing specialist Ben Collins will make his V8 Supercar debut at the annual Phillip Island and Bathurst endurance events later this year, having been confirmed as the fourth member of Todd and Rick Kelly's Jack Daniel's Racing outfit.
The 34-year old will team up with Bathurst veteran Nathan Pretty in the team's #15 Holden Commodore and admits that he is looking forward to the opportunity of adding the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and L&H 500 to his already extensive racing CV.
“Phillip Island and Bathurst are two circuits that every driver would love to get the chance to race on, especially Bathurst, which is such a famous race," he explained, “I drove a Holden V8 Supercar [for a magazine feature] earlier this year and these cars are sensational. They're very demanding and the level of talent and professionalism in this category is very high.”
Collins has an extensive racing history that includes experience from Formula Vauxhall to international F3, Indy Lights, GTs, World Sportscars and NASCAR. He finished third in the 2001 World Sportscar Championship driving for Ascari, was European NASCAR (ASCAR) champion in 2003 and has been called on for F1 testing duties. In addition to his impressive racing credentials, the Briton is also a renowned stunt driver for film and television, most recently working as a double for Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace
, and former Bathurst winner Todd Kelly said that adding Collins to the line-up was a coup for the first-year team.
“Ben comes to Jack Daniel's Racing with a wealth of experience,” the 2005 race winner commented, "Endurance races like Phillip Island and Bathurst require a combination of pace and consistency, especially when it comes to 161 laps at Mount Panorama.
"Ben has achieved a lot in endurance racing and will be a real asset to our team as we tackle our first endurance events. It's fitting that he's paired with Nathan because the two of them are both noted endurance specialists. It's great to have two guys with such pedigree in our #15 Commodore.”
The Kelly brothers will form one of this year's strongest endurance combinations aboard the #7 Holden, even if it is only the second time the pair have driven together in the V8 enduros.
“The endurance races have been a major focus for our team, and Todd and I can't wait to team up again,” two-time Bathurst winner Rick noted, “When we ran together in 2006, we finished second at both enduros, so we've definitely got some unfinished business this year.”