Prodrive takes on the V8 muscle cars.
Prodrive and Ford has created a new V8 Supercar team to compete in the Australian Touring Car Championship. Called Ford Performance Racing (FPR), it will be the first time Prodrive has raced in the Southern Hemisphere and takes the business into yet another motorsport category.
Prodrive already has a successful long-standing relationship with Ford in Australia developing and manufacturing all Ford's high performance road cars for this market. In September 2002, this joint venture was relaunched as Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV). The new race team, which is wholly owned by Prodrive, will be a powerful marketing tool for positioning this new brand as the number one Australian performance marque.
The three car team will initially run two 2002 specification Ford Falcon's driven by Glenn Seton and David Besnard and a new 2003 car with mechanicals from the previous car, driven by Craig Lowndes. Prodrive will develop an all-new car based on the Ford Falcon BA during this season and is constructing a new facility to house the team next to FPV in Melbourne, which will be ready for the 2004 season.
"We have spent nearly a year assessing the championship and looking for the right opportunity and package to enter the Australian series," said Hugh Chambers, Prodrive group marketing director. "This has meant we are now coming into the 2003 season very late with only five weeks until the first race and it will be a real challenge to get the cars prepared within this time frame. However, in the longer term, this will mean a much better chance to develop a competitive car based on the new BA Falcon with a driver line up which can challenge for the title in 2004."
FPR renews Prodrive's motorsport relationship with Ford which last saw Ford Team Mondeo's dominate the 2000 British Touring Car Championship. Prodrive also runs the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru Rally Team USA, manages the Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda Formula One Team, as well as running its own Ferrari 550 GTS Maranellos in the American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 hours, making it the world's leading independent motorsport business.