December 6 1999

Jim and Ross Stone of Stone Brothers Racing have confirmed that New Zealand international driver, Craig Baird, will pilot the Pirtek AU XR8 Falcon for the 2000 Shell Championship Series.

Baird drove for the team alongside Jason Bright in this year's endurance races, posting quick times and running with the front of the field in the Queensland 500 before a mechanical failure put the pair out of the race.

"We are very pleased to have Craig on board for next season and we know that he will be able to deliver on-track results and back it up with his excellent test-driving," said Ross Stone.

"Everyone is looking forward to next season. Craig is a very personable guy out of the car, but when he puts on the helmet the aggression comes out!"

After several successful years in New Zealand and Australian Super Tourers, including two firsts in Bathurst sprint races, Baird spent 1998 driving a Ford Mondeo in the British Touring Car Championship.

He returned from the UK in 1999 and scaled down racing commitments due to a desire to establish a business.

"I've been racing since I was four years old. Having almost missed the entire year this year, I am very pleased to get back into a top drive and hungry to start racing full-time again," Baird said.

Ford Racing general manager Howard Marsden is pleased with Baird's selection stating that he is a welcome addition to the Ford Racing stable.

"The combination of driving skill and testing ability will be of great assistance to the Stone Brothers and I am sure they will start the year with an excellent race package," Marsden said.