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Penske does not rule out leaving Ford

DJR Team Penske owner Roger Penske has not ruled out the Ford outfit changing manufacturers.
Penske does not rule out leaving Ford
Photo Source: AP

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The thought may terrify team founder Dick Johnson.

But DJR Team Penske owner Roger Penske has not ruled out the fiercely Ford Supercars outfit changing manufacturers.

Three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Johnson is synonymous with Ford after starting the DJR team in 1980.

And he reckoned he wouldn't last long with angry punters if he was spotted wearing any other brand.

Especially at the Mount Panorama track that also made him - and Ford - famous in Australia.

"I couldn't imagine myself walking around with a different badge," said Johnson.

"I certainly wouldn't go on top of the mountain with one, that's for sure.

"Here's hoping this will continue into the future."

But US motorsport great Penske has the final say after buying a controlling interest in the team from Johnson last year.

Ford is Penske's US NASCAR team major sponsor.

And Penske said he was committed to Ford for the 2017 Supercars season - but not beyond.

They will use Falcons next season.

But the jury is out on what DJR Team Penske will roll out in 2018 after Ford Australia manufacturing factories closed their doors on Friday.

"I would expect next year we will be with Ford," said Penske, on his first visit to Bathurst's legendary Mount Panorama with the Supercars team.P

"(But) we are a team that is looking for opportunities.

"And if something came up that we felt would be a benefit to the overall operation we would take a look at it.

"But today we are steadfast in the Ford camp."

DJR have won the national touring car title seven times and the Bathurst 1000 three times.

But they have not claimed a race victory since Penske's takeover.

Johnson hoped they could pay tribute to the Ford factory workers who lost their jobs with a Bathurst triumph on Sunday.

"To perform this weekend would be an absolute blinder," five-time series champion Johnson said.

"It would be a really good send-off to all of those people.

"There have been generations of families who have worked there and I have met an awful lot of those people over the years.

"It's a sad time."

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