Anton De Pasquale has opened up on his personal connection with the Ralph family that is set to become a co-owner of Dick Johnson Racing.
It was announced prior to Sandown that a majority stake in DJR, the organization which runs Supercars squad Shell V-Power Racing Team, was to be sold to the Ralph family in January 2023.
Brett Ralph is the figurehead of the family’s endeavors working alongside brother Shaun.
While they may be fresh to the spotlight of a Supercars team owner, the family has prior success in the sporting and business sectors.
A presence in motorsport is not entirely new for the Ralphs, having had a relationship with De Pasquale throughout his career.
Jet Couriers, the core of the Ralph’s business empire, is a personal sponsor of the 26-year-old with its logo emblazoned on his helmet, as it has done for a number of years.
De Pasquale explained the relationship is more involved than it seems at face value.
“I’ve known them [Ralph family] for a handful of years, as an ambassador and good friends, just through everything basically, ”De Pasquale told Speedcafe.com.
“They’ve supported a bit of my racing career as well. They’re involved in a lot of other sporting activities and a lot of businesses and so to have them involved [at DJR] is really cool.
“They don’t do anything lightly, so I think they’re a really good addition.
“Brett and I get along really well, and he’s a big supporter of a lot of things, and a big supporter of mine.
“He’s someone I’ve been able to lean on just through my career, team changes, and just for advice and stuff like that.”
DJR Executive Chairman, Ryan Story, previously stated that any buy-in to the famous Ford squad would be open to a strategic partner that adds value, rather than an investor.
The Ralph family already owns the Melbourne Aces baseball team that has won the past two Australian Baseball League titles. It is through the Aces that the Ralph family will hold the equity for DJR.
De Pasquale believes the Ralphs will add the commercial and sporting value the team is looking for.
“I met [the Ralph family] my first year in main game actually, ”the # 11 Mustang driver reflected.
“We got on really well and then I just sort of started going to a lot of corporate events and stuff with them, and then basically became an ambassador for Jet Couriers, the Aces, and all that.
“That’s sort of how I based my whole main game career, which is really cool.
“Obviously, any time there’s an ownership change or restructure of a race team it’s always a little bit nerve-wracking not knowing what you get.
“I guess the cool thing is, I sort of know what they’re about and how they go about their life, their sport, their business.”
Dick Johnson and Story will hold onto a share in DJR, both maintaining their day-to-day positions when the new structure evolves.
In the same week of the ownership change news, the squad also announced its current drivers in De Pasquale and Will Davison will stay on in 2023.
“It’s cool to be a part of DJR’s next stage,” added De Pasquale.
“Gen3 is sort of a rebrand almost in a way for Supercars and then same for the team.
“For me and Will to be part of that next stage and continue on the massive history that DJR has is cool.
“Ryan and Dick get on well with [the Ralph family]so that’s obviously the most important thing. “
The next round of the Supercars Championship is the ITM Auckland SuperSprint from September 9-11.