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," he added. "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."

 

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