Paul Morris has expanded his already busy V8 Supercar operations with the purchase of a level one franchise from Longhurst Racing.

The purchase means that Morris' team will campaign two Paul Morris Motorsports-built VZ Holden Commodores in the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship - one for himself sponsored by Sirromet Wines and the other shared at alternate rounds by emerging talents Alan Gurr and Fabian Coulthard.

The 37-year said it was expected he would contest the championship using the level one franchise, with
Gurr and Coulthard likely to race in the 13-round championship with the level two franchise which Morris has used to compete in the series since 2000.

However the decision over which drivers use which franchise may yet be determined by the allocation of 'wildcard' entries by V8 Supercars Australia during the 2006 season as championship regulations mean the level one franchise only has a guaranteed start at seven events because of its finishing position in the 2005 standings.

"Our intention is to run my car with the level one franchise, and Alan and Fabian will race with the level two," Morris said. "As it stands the level one franchise doesn't have a guaranteed start in all championship rounds, while the level two does, so that's something to consider.

"I'll need 'wildcards' to get a start everywhere with the level one, but if that doesn't happen we can review the situation as to who drives with what franchise."

Morris added that the purchase of the level one franchise was a logical move for his expanding team, which has designed and built six Commodore V8 Supercars since 2001 at its base at the Holden Performance Driving Centre at Norwell, and also formed a technical partnership with Team Kiwi Racing, preparing and maintaining the VZ Commodore raced by Paul Radisich, and also established an in-house engine development program.

"Our business is growing all the time, so getting this level one franchise allows us to foster some young talent and prepare them to hopefully play a bigger part in the team's future success," he said. "Alan has been with us for a few years and he's proven he can drive a V8 Supercar, while Fabian is coming off a great year in the Porsches.

"Keeping three cars in race trim is a big job, but we can handle it."


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