Orrcon Steel extends FPR partnership

ORRCON STEEL LEAD THE WAY INTO 2011

V8 Supercar boss, drivers, key management and customers sing praises of the Orrcon Steel Racing sponsorship program

Orrcon Steel announced last week that it has extended its sponsorship agreement with Ford Performance Racing for a further two years in the V8 Supercar Championship.

One of the first drivers to sing praises of the Orrcon Steel was their figurehead, Mark Winterbottom, who has now been a part of the Orrcon Steel 'family' for six of his seven years in the championship.

"In this day and age sponsors are hard to find, so to develop a relationship with a sponsor that turns into long term support is a great thing," said Winterbottom.

"It has been great to be a part of Orrcon Steel's time in the sport and I've met a lot of people along the way who have turned into great supporters of mine and of the FPR team."

Winterbottom says it is not just the support from the sponsorship team but also the passion shown by the staff and customer base.

"Orrcon Steel's staff and customer base are so passionate about the sport - it's something that has really been developed over time and it's great to share the success the way we have throughout the years. Hopefully in the near future we can reward them with a championship," said Winterbottom.

"Orrcon Steel's involvement in the sport is a lot more than just a sticker on the side of a car - it's everything else that goes with it behind the scenes that helps build the relationships.

"Throughout my career I've had great support from everyone in the business, it's all the experiences that Orrcon Steel provide their customers that ensures they get value out of the partnership. I'm often getting support from customers on email and at the track, it's almost like a big family.

"There's not too many people in pit lane that can say their sponsor has been involved in the sport for ten years."

The growth of the sport over the past ten years has been immense and Tony Cochrane, Executive Chairman of V8 Supercars Australia, is proud of the fact that a company like Orrcon Steel has been a great supporter of the championship over a lengthy period of time.

"Orrcon Steel have been a great partner in V8 Supercars over many years with their support originally with Larkham Motor Sport and over more recent years with Ford Performance Racing," said Cochrane.

"They are an outstanding leader in their field and the extremely clever way they have leveraged their involvements has played a great role in their terrific growth. On behalf of V8 Supercars we congratulate them on reaching this milestone."

Orrcon Steel has remained with a core bunch of five drivers during their time in the sport with Mark Larkham their first pilot in a one-car team during 2002 before Larkham was joined by Jason Bargwanna in a two-car assault during 2003.

When Larkham retired in 2004 Bargwanna was joined by rising star Mark Winterbottom. The pair drove the Orrcon Steel Racing Falcons to various levels of success during the following two years.

In 2006 Orrcon Steel followed Larkham across to WPS Racing as an associate sponsor when Larkham Motor Sport and WPS merged at the start of the year. The two drivers were Bargwanna and Max Wilson.

At the start of 2007, Orrcon Steel reunited with Winterbottom at Ford Performance Racing as the naming rights sponsor of the #5 FPR Falcon, a relationship that will continue to at least the end of 2012. Orrcon Steel also became a corporate partner on the car driven by Steve Richards from 2007 until the end of last year.

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ORRCON STEEL

Jason Bargwanna
Orrcon Steel V8 Supercar driver (2003-2006)
"It's quite exciting really, I was involved with Orrcon Steel in their early beginnings of V8 Supercars from the two car team at Larkham Motor Sport," said Bargwanna.

"During that time we got a couple of podiums, were very competitive and we had a lot of fun. I learnt a lot about the steel industry that's for sure.

"When any sponsor commits to the amount of money that all of the businesses in pit lane do they want their bang for the buck. Orrcon Steel certainly know how to leverage their sponsorship well and I think they've set a standard and a benchmark up and down pit lane in terms of exploiting their sponsorship."

Steve Richards
Orrcon Steel-backed V8 Supercar driver (2007 - 2010)
"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Orrcon Steel have done the best job of activating their involvement of any sponsor in the V8 Supercar Championship," said Richards.

"There is no question how much they leverage their involvement and as a result they appear to gain the benefits from customer loyalty.

"The reality is that in terms of corporate appearance at track Orrcon Steel are really setting the standards for other teams to aspire to. Away from the circuit they use their involvement through well organised drive days, golf days and interactive dinners to provide their customers with experiences.

"Most people probably didn't know what Orrcon was ten years ago but they certainly know what it is now, and probably go out looking and asking for Orrcon product.

"From what I see Orrcon Steel's program has been great for existing customers as well as gaining new customers while expanding their brand and image through other mediums."

Max Wilson
Orrcon Steel-backed V8 Supercar driver (2006)
"It wasn't until I had Orrcon Steel as one of my sponsors that I realised how a sponsor can really use their involvement in motorsport to their advantage. For sure I was always aware of the branding aspects of the sponsorship but the team at Orrcon took their sponsorship involvement to a whole new level," said Wilson.

"With the great corporate hospitality, unique experiences and personalised visits, the sponsorship program that Orrcon Steel put together is undoubtedly the best that I have been involved in during my motorsport career.

"When I returned to Brazil I took a lot of what I learnt from being involved with Orrcon Steel to help my sponsors over here gain more out of their involvement with the team."

Mark Roworth
Director of Business Operations, Ford Performance Racing
"The thing that's probably the most exciting about Orrcon Steel is the way that they apply themselves to the sport," said Roworth.

"They have had lots of practice with it over the last 10 years, but their professionalism just doesn't seem to slow down and it doesn't stop.

"They really get what we are trying to push to a lot of our other clients and sponsors, that it's all about relationships and its about fostering the strength of the relationship between the companies.

"In the sense of Orrcon Steel, it is all about interacting with their customer network and they do it so professionally, priding themselves on being able to build those relationships based on those interactive experiences.

"What we've done is that we've ended up trying to model a lot that they have done over the last ten years and apply that to our new clients and really get them on the same path, its great to watch and its certainly great to be a part of."

David Simmons
Former Managing Director, Hills Group of Companies
"It's great what you can achieve when you align your customer base with a sporting initiative," said Simmons.

"When we looked at out customer base of Orrcon Steel at the time it was predominantly owner-operated engineering and fabrication businesses who loved motorsport, so you didn't have to be a genius to work out what direction we needed to head in our sponsorship program.

"One thing that emerged pretty quickly is that you've got to be capable of winning. In the early days it was the sense of involvement and then the expectations of everyone involved began to continually rise. Pretty soon it was evident that you had to have a car that was on the pace and I think that the progression that Orrcon has made through their various sponsorships has been very good.

"If you haven't got guys on the team that can communicate with the customers, you've got a problem. A sponsorship program involved much more than having a driver who can drive the car, they need to also be able to communicate to the customers, which is something the bunch of drivers that Orrcon has had have been very good at."

Hamish Meek
New South Wales Sales Manager - Orrcon Steel
"I can sum up what the racing program means to us as business simply by listening to the 53 customers who were at Bathurst last year - they were all so thankful for what we do for them and as a result we're always in the front of their mind," said Meek.

"When they go to buy the steel they remember the experiences, the Orrcon Steel racing program builds our customer intimacy. We don't have to talk about business all weekend long but we strengthen our customer relationships.

"Our customers understand that it is our entertainment and our sport. They understand that Orrcon Steel's sport is motor racing and get a real buzz about being a part of it.

"If it wasn't for the racing program we wouldn't get the time that we do with our customers and our relationships would not be nearly as strong.

"Even with the AFL Grand Final being run twice last year, it still wouldn't have provided the bonding relationship to what the weekend at Bathurst did for us as a business. We were all sitting there dressed in Orrcon Steel blue in the shootout and every single person was cheering every time someone didn't beat Frosty's time and they all felt a part of the FPR team."

Craig Chant
Queensland Sales Manager - Orrcon Steel
"The biggest thing that has come out of our sponsorship is the fact that motorsport and steel industry is a great mix and are both very similar, the motor racing profile fits well with our customers," said Chant.

"It has provided me with a common link with the customers but it's not just about what happens on the race track, it's more about the personalised stuff with having the drivers spend time with the customers. It really makes the customers feel part of the team and they are proud to use the product.

"A lot of the customers take ownership in the team and drivers which provides the sales staff with a common topic of conversation.

"I'm not a race fanatic but from a business point of view we couldn't have got our name out in the market without the racing program that we have had in place.

"The professionalism of Stewart Smith and the team who work with him to implement the racing program is second to none and much of the results we get from a sales relationship is a result of the high standards set by the team that run the program."

James Pearlman
Orrcon Steel National Manager - Distribution
"The racing program and association that Orrcon Steel has with Ford Performance Racing provides us with a fantastic platform to build relationships and partnerships with our customers," said Pearlman.

"I've been with the business for just over five years and the racing culture within our business is something that I have never experienced anywhere before.

"Our partnership with FPR and with our customers are both very strong. It is a relationship that allows us to bond with both the team and the customer - it's a one-team approach which is very unique to our industry.

"The attributes that FPR possess represent Orrcon Steel well as a business and I believe we make great partners."

David Fodor
Stylemaster Patios, Orrcon Steel customer
"I've dealt with Orrcon Steel since the Larkham Motor Sport days, so it's been a long standing relationship between us," said Fodor.

"Prior to Orrcon becoming involved in V8 Supercar racing I wasn't a racing fan before but I certainly am now.

"The program really brings us as customers all together, we really feel part of the team and it also provides us with a stronger relationship with our sales reps, they go well beyond simply being steel merchants.

"I'm a member and a sponsor of the Penrith Panthers and there is no doubt the sense of involvement I feel from being a part of the Orrcon team is well above what I feel watching a game of footy.

"We ride the highs and lows of the team. At Bathurst when Frosty qualified on pole position it was such a high, everyone on the corporate facility really felt that they were a part of it. The way every event is organised, it feels like when we are in a group we have a real sense of ownership and the hosts deliver the best of everything. I've never got that feeling in any other corporate environment.

"Whenever I get an opportunity to attend an Orrcon event I never knock it back. I go to a heap of functions and nothing compares to the way the team at Orrcon do it.

"We've got a great relationship with everyone at Orrcon, if a delivery is late and we understand because they look after us the best we can and we work together as a team which is something that continually helps us build our relationship."

ORRCON STEEL HISTORY IN THE V8 SUPECAR CHAMPIONSHIP

Orrcon Steel first debuted in the V8 Supercar Championship as a major sponsor of Mark Larkham's team in 2002. Larkham was joined in Orrcon Steel colours by Jason Bargwanna in a two car assault in 2003.

When Larkham retired in 2004 Bargwanna was joined by rising star Mark Winterbottom. The pair drove the Orrcon Steel Racing Falcons to various levels of success during the following two years.

In 2006 Orrcon Steel followed Larkham across to WPS Racing as an associate sponsor when Larkham Motor Sport and WPS merged at the start of the year. The two drivers were Bargwanna and Max Wilson.

At the start of 2007 Orrcon Steel reunited with Winterbottom at Ford Performance Racing as the naming rights sponsor of the #5 Ford Falcon. Orrcon Steel also became a corporate partner on the #6 Castrol FPR Falcon driven by Steve Richards.

2007 saw the breakthrough win for Orrcon Steel and FPR during the Bahrain event and they continued the season in true fighting spirit finishing third overall in the series.

In 2008 the team continued to be one of the leading teams in the Championship with Winterbottom and FPR finishing runner-up in the series.

The Orrcon Steel-backed duo enjoyed an up and down season in '09 with Winterbottom's determined performance on the streets of Surfers Paradise being one of the major highlights for the Ford Performance Racing outfit. Battling a glandular illness Winterbottom succeeded against all odds to qualify on pole position for race one and take out the final encounter of the weekend.

Throughout the year both drivers showed glimpses of their true potential by securing 11 podium finishes and qualifying inside the top ten on 26 occasions - including pole position at Hamilton, Winton, Queensland Raceway, Phillip Island and the Gold Coast.

At the end of it all Winterbottom finished the year fifth in the championship standings and Richards 13th.

The 2010 Championship saw Winterbottom finish third in the points standings having secured four pole positions and 14 podium finishes across the 26 races contested. Richards also showed some good speed with the highlights being a hard charging drive to second place in the season ending race in Sydney and completing a one-two on the grid for race two at Surfers Paradise.

-source: orrconracing

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