Queensland: Ford Performance Racing preview

ENDURO CHALLENGE THIS WEEKEND AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY July 25, 2005 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) welcomes a return to endurance racing this Sunday at Queensland Raceway for the Queensland 300 - the 7th Round of the 2005 Australian V8 Supercar...

ENDURO CHALLENGE THIS WEEKEND AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY

July 25, 2005 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) welcomes a return to endurance racing this Sunday at Queensland Raceway for the Queensland 300 - the 7th Round of the 2005 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series.

Marking the mid point of the highly competitive 2005 Championship, this weekend's race in the sunshine state is the first of what used to be a popular format of single driver endurance races. A single 280 kilometre / 90 lap race will decide the round, with two compulsory pit stops required, one each for tyres and fuel.

This unique V8 Supercar racing format brings pit strategy, fuel economy, tyre preservation and driver fitness to the fore. While this single driver enduro event is unique for this season, Queensland Raceway is no stranger to V8 Supercar racing, as this will be the 8th Championship event to be held at the 3.1 kilometre circuit located near the town of Ipswich, one hour west of Brisbane.

FPR has a formidable record in single-race V8 Supercar rounds. The Prodrive owned team has finished second or better on six occasions in the longer-distance format events since 2003.(Eastern Creek 03 & Oran Park 03 2nd / Eastern Creek 04 2nd). This includes victory of the 300 kilometre round at Phillip Island in 2003 along with the team's two consecutive Bathurst runner-up finishes over the last two years.

Queensland Raceway has seen CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright finish in the top four on five occasions after six visits. This venue is also very familiar to Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Greg Ritter, who has competed there on four previous occasions in a V8 Supercar, with two top ten finishes to his credit.

#6 Jason Bright - "I enjoy racing at Queensland Raceway - I drove countless test miles there in 1999 and I have almost won it twice but was let down by mechanical problems each time. What the circuit lacks in excitement, in makes up for in technical challenges. It is particularly hard on brakes and if you have rear traction or power down problems, you are in major trouble. The circuit rewards a well set up car over the long distance."

#5 Greg Ritter - "Even though it is not the most challenging of circuits, I like racing at Queensland Raceway. I have had some strong results there and I know the place very well. We have made some major gains with my car in the first half of the season and we're planning to be stronger again at this round."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "In preparation for this endurance race we have completed an exhaustive programme of re-fuelling and general pit stop practice. Unfortunately we cancelled our test day before this round due to bad weather, but based on our car speed in China and Darwin, we head to Queensland with the goal of achieving a podium result."

FPR QUEENSLAND 300 FACT FILE

Round 7 is the first of three single-race rounds on 2005 schedule. While known as the Queensland 300, the 90-lap race will be run over 280 kilometres. The shortened distance is a result of broadcaster Network Ten's desire to fit the race within its standard 2.5 hour telecast slot.

Two years ago, rounds featuring a sole two-hour race dominated the V8 Supercar calendar. However, single-driver mini-endurance races have since become rare, so format-wise, the Queensland 300 is now unique on the V8 calendar.

The race will feature two compulsory pitstops, one for fuel, the other for tyres. 2005 is the eighth time a V8 Supercar championship round has been held at the circuit which was constructed in 1998 and shares the same site location as the Willowbank Raceway drag racing facility.

Jason Bright has raced at Queensland Raceway on six previous occasions, posting top five results four-times. His best finish was at the track's inaugural meeting in July, 1999 when he was third overall. Later that year, when the series returned for the Queensland 500, the series rookie was the pole-sitter. He led the event before his SBR Falcon's engine blew.

Jason Bright's strong qualifying record at the circuit suggests his impressive record of 22 appearances in the last 23 top ten shootouts could be extended.

Unlike the majority of rounds on the 2005 calendar, Greg Ritter is looking forward to racing on a circuit that he knows very well. Ritter has raced at the track on four previous occasions in the series, with two top 10 finishes to his name. His best result was eighth in the 2002 Queensland 500, as partner to former Formula One World Champion Alan Jones.

Greg Ritter has also chalked up many test kilometres around the circuit, during his time as a member of Stone Brothers Racing and Dick Johnson Racing endurance race driver line-up.

Queensland Raceway has played a pivotal role in Greg Ritter's career. It was at the Ipswich track in 1999 that Ritter, while competing in an Australian Formula Ford Championship round, experienced a multiple rollover which all-but destroyed his car. An all night rebuild saw him back on the track the next day, and the points earned that day was ultimately the difference between him winning his Formula Ford Championship. Queensland Raceway was also the scene of Ritter's V8 Supercar debut later that year, when he finished 12th in the Queensland 500.

RE-FUELLING THE FPR FALCONS

As this is one of four V8 Supercar rounds of the season that require mid-race re-fuelling, here are some facts in relation to this process. (Re-fuelling races are Adelaide 500, Queensland 300, Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000)

V8 Supercar rules state that all cars are permitted to have a fuel tank with a maximum capacity of 120 litres. Using up to 3 litres of fuel per lap, (approximately 70 litres per 100 kilometres!) a V8 Supercar does not carry enough fuel to complete these longer races on a single tank.

All refuelling at pit stops is performed by FPR Fuel Technician, Chris Dempsey. This is done with a custom made fuel rig, built by FPR.

The fuel rig is built to a maximum height of 2m, with a maximum fuel capacity of 200 litres. The fuel rig operates by having the two end nozzles placed in the refuelling holes at the back of the car. Once inserted, a button on the back of the nozzle is depressed against the car, which starts the digital counter. Re-fuelling starts when the nozzle connects to the refuelling holes. The fuel flows down a hose that is a minimum length of 2.6m, and has a control 30mm restrictor hole fitted inside.

The fuel is gravity-fed down the fuel hose at a rate of 4.7 litres per second. At the same time, the second hose ventilates the air out of the fuel tank. When the desired amount of fuel has made its way into the tank, the nozzles are pulled back from the car, and the button is automatically released to shut down the fuel flow.

The amount of petrol to go into the FPR Falcons during the fuel stop is determined by the race engineers. This is calculated in kilograms, not litres. The engineers then calculate the time this will take to be fed into the car. Chris Demspey then counts the fuel going into the car in seconds. For example, if the engineers decide they would like to put 100 litres of fuel into the car, they instruct the refueller to put 21.28 seconds of fuel in.

Three people are required to complete the refuelling process, each wearing full fire proof racing overalls. One person to put the fuel in, a second to man the 'dead man handle' - a lever that disconnects the fuel flow instantly in an emergency - and a third person to man a fire extinguisher.

There is no limit on the amount of fuel the team can use during a race weekend. As an example, in New Zealand each FPR Falcon consumed approximately 500 litres of fuel over the race weekend. The fuel consumption is much higher for events like Sandown and Bathurst.

-fpr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Alan Jones , Jason Bright , Greg Ritter , Dick Johnson , Tim Edwards , Phillip Island