Bathurst: Ford Perfomance Racing preview

One Step Higher For FPR at Bathurst 2004 October 4, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads back to Australia's legendary Mount Panorama racing circuit this week with one goal - to finish one step higher on the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000...

One Step Higher For FPR at Bathurst 2004

October 4, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads back to Australia's legendary Mount Panorama racing circuit this week with one goal - to finish one step higher on the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 podium than the team's debut second place achievement last year.

CAT FPR Falcon drivers Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton return to re-form one of the strongest driver combinations competing in this year's great race. Sharing five Championships and five Mount Panorama podium finishes between them, Lowndes and Seton are totally focussed on achieving their goal of winning this prestigious race.

For 39 year old Seton, this year's Bathurst classic marks his 21st 1000 kilometre enduro start at Mount Panorama. If he and Lowndes can win it, the double V8 Supercar Champion will have waited longer than any other driver in the 44 year history of the race to stand on the top step of the Bathurst podium.

V8 Supercar superstar Craig Lowndes celebrates his 10th Bathurst start next Sunday, with one victory (1996) and three second places gained to date. The 30 year old triple Champion wants nothing more than to bring his CAT FPR Falcon home first after coming so close last season.

Ford Credit FPV Falcon drivers Alain Menu and Adam Macrow displayed some strong race speed at Sandown a month ago, the double British Touring Car Champion and the young gun forming a solid combination in the number 5 Falcon. The duo arrives in Bathurst ready for a strong wildcard performance. Menu rates this circuit as one of his favourites, having almost won at Mount Panorama in 1997 for Williams Renault. This year's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 marks Menu's fourth enduro race at Mount Panorama, while this will be talented 25 year old Victorian driver Adam Macrow's sixth appearance at Australia's most famous motor race.

Fought over six and a half hours, this annual V8 Supercar battle has now become a 1,000 kilometre sprint race and FPR's engineers and crew have worked solidly throughout the past four weeks to ensure that FPR's drivers have the car speed, fuel economy and reliability to make them genuine contenders.

A newly developed, multi-million dollar Bathurst pit complex welcomes the V8 Supercar teams this year, transforming the historical venue into one of Australia's most advanced motor racing facilities. This is the first stage of several major developments taking place at this most hallowed turf of Australian motorsport.

#6 Craig Lowndes - "We learned a lot from Sandown and the team has worked extensively to improve our enduro performance over the past month, supporting our goal of winning my second and Glenn's first Bathurst title. This is a race that everyone desires - everyone wants to win it. If you have a bad season, Bathurst can stand alone as an outstanding achievement for the team. What I like most about Bathurst is the sheer distance of the race - over six hours of racing, the Mount Panorama circuit, the challenge of trying to get the best out of the car despite all of the track's variables. Elevations, fast corners, slow corners and the bumpy section across the top of the mountain make it a major challenge to set the car up right and that's what makes winning this great race so rewarding."

#6 Glenn Seton - "We have had a pretty tough Championship year, but thinking back to our fantastic result of second last year together with Craig, I believe that we are capable of taking that one next step on the podium this year. That is our goal - both of us want to win this race. I haven't been able to achieve this yet, despite having come very close through the years. This is my 21st Bathurst start and I'm confident that with Rob Benson on board we will have reliabile and powerful engines. The team has also learned a great deal over the past 12 months, making us much stronger than we were this time last year at Bathurst. There is no race that is more important to me than this one - Bathurst is the Indianapolis of Australia, no other race generates the passion amongst all competitors, teams and the public than this one - and we are competing to win it."

#5 Alain Menu -"The Bathurst 1000 is one of the world's great motor races and FPR has worked hard to give Adam and I the car we need to get a strong result. This is my fourth time on the mountain and after the experience gained and lessons learned from Sandown, I believe that the team is in very good shape for this race. I have been looking forward to returning to Bathurst for a long time and considering how competitive the V8 Supercar Series has been this season, it should be an incredible race."

#5 Adam Macrow - "I can't wait to get back to Mount Panorama - I had a great run last year and hopefully I can pick up where we left off and gain a strong result. The main goal will be to set up a fast race car that takes care of its tyres, which will make the car consistent and easy to drive throughout the race distance. This way Alain and I can race hard towards a good finish. Having raced at Bathurst five times before and knowing the circuit well, I have improved every year and I plan for this year to be no exception."

FPR Chief Engineer John Russell - "After a long period of preparation following Sandown, the team looks forward to the adventure that Bathurst always becomes. Glenn and Craig's podium last year sets us a hard benchmark to follow, but as ever everyone in the team will be gunning for that ultimate top step. The new members of staff are bringing greater strength to FPR and notably Rob Benson's presence in the engine department is starting to make a much needed impact."

Opening V8 Supercar practice takes place on the 6.2 kilometre Mount Panorama circuit at 11:00am on Thursday (Oct 7) followed by a two further sessions in the afternoon. Qualifying takes place on Friday from 2:00pm, with the fifth and final practice session scheduled for 10:00am Saturday. The top ten shoot out follows at 3:40pm and the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 starts on Sunday at 10:00am.

FPR BATHURST 2004 FACT FILE

The 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 finds FPR's two regular drivers celebrating significant career milestones. 2004 is the 10th anniversary of Craig Lowndes' stunning Bathurst debut in the 1994 Tooheys 1000. The then 20 year old Lowndes finished second - the same result as his most recent Bathurst start with FPR, having taken the race lead with a brave outside move on John Bowe at Griffin's Bend, (now known as CAT Corner) late in the race.

2004 is also the 21st anniversary of Glenn Seton's Bathurst debut. Seton first raced with his father in a Ford Capri in the 1983 James Hardie 1000. 2004 is also the 10th anniversary of Seton's first Bathurst Pole position. Seton has twice earned the Bathurst Pole, in 1994 and in 1996 - which came during an unbroken run of 14 appearances in the great race's qualifying Shootout. The sequence was only broken last year, when co-driver Lowndes was handed qualifying and Shootout responsibilities.

Should FPR's powerful CAT FPR Falcon Lowndes / Seton combination win at Bathurst this year, Seton will have experienced the longest wait of any breakthrough winner in the 44 year history of this illustrious motor race. Lowndes was the 1996 AMP Bathurst 1000 winner, one of four V8 Supercar podiums he has gained at Mount Panorama.

Alain Menu, the 1997 and 2000 British Touring Car Champion, will make his fourth Bathurst 1000 start on October 10. The 41 year old Swiss driver made his debut at Mount Panorama with the Williams Renault Touring Car Team in 1997, returning to join Tomas Mezera in a Holden in 1998, and making the Bathurst trip once again in 2000 to join Mark Larkham in a LMR Falcon. Menu arrives at Mount Panorama fresh from his second place finish in the British Touring Car Championship Race of Champions at Donington Park.

Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Adam Macrow returns to the FPR squad for the 2004 Bathurst classic after a stellar performance in last year's race. By the end of a mammoth 45 lap opening stint, Macrow was in second position, before handing the car to his then teammate (Darren Hossack) who ended the pair's chances with an accident. Macrow - the 1998 Australian Formula Ford Champion - makes his sixth start in the big race next Sunday.

Ford Performance Racing has racked up a quartet of podium results from its last six appearances in NSW. The streak includes four second places (Eastern Creek, April 2003; Oran Park, August 2003; Bathurst, October 2003; and Eastern Creek, 2004). The four podiums were punctuated by a fourth place finish at the Eastern Creek season finale last December.

The 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 will be the 44th Bathurst Touring Car endurance classic (including the 'rebel' races held in 1997 and 1998). 2004 is also the 30th anniversary of the last win by a Falcon GT in the event, when John Goss and Kevin Bartlett claimed the '74 race in a XA Falcon GT. Both FPR Falcons will carry GT badges at Bathurst, continuing the legendary tradition and re- enforcing the total performance link that exists between FPR and Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV).

-fpr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Larkham , Craig Lowndes , John Bowe , Glenn Seton , Darren Hossack , Bob Jane , Adam Macrow , John Goss , Alain Menu
Teams Williams