Former New Zealand open-wheeler star Daniel Gaunt has been named as the Stone Brothers Racing's second co driver for the Ford factory team's 2009 enduro campaign.
Gaunt, who is currently contesting the second-string Fujitsu V8 Series for McElrea Racing, completes the SBR driver line-up, joining fellow kiwi John McIntyre in the Irwin Falcon for this year's Phillip Island 500 and Bathurst 1000 endurance events.
He won't have to look far for a familiar face in the mainly kiwi team; his room mate on the Gold Coast is SBR regular (and another Shaky Islander) Shane van Gisbergen.
Gaunt, a former Australian Drivers' Champion, got his first taste of V8 Supercars last year when he made his debut for Team Kiwi Racing driving the under-funded ack Falcon in the final two events of the season, at Symmons Plains and Oran Park.
The two-time New Zealand Grand Prix Trophy winner is thrilled to be making his Bathurst 1000 debut in SBR's 2009 endurance squad.
"I grew up watching Bathurst so it's pretty exciting to think that now I am actually going to be competing in it myself and racing against some of my childhood heroes," said Gaunt, who is 24.
"Shane [van Gisbergen] and I spend a lot of time racing each other on the simulator at home, now it's the real deal and we will actually get to race against one another.
SBR co-owner Ross Stone said that Gaunt came to his attention in 2007 when he went to Manfeild in New Zealand to watch van Gisbergen race in the Formula Toyota single seater series. His teammate at the time was Gaunt who went on to win both races. "Since then I have kept a close eye on him."
Gaunt won the Australian Drivers Championship for Formula Holden open wheelers in 2003 before competing in the United States and returning to win the NZ Toyota Racing Series open wheeler title in 2006 and 2007, including taking victory in the 2007 and 2009 New Zealand Grand Prix.
He then finished second to Craig Baird in the 2008 NZ Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
Alex Davison is SBR's token Aussie driver.