Ford Performance Racing will be looking to turn around their horror Hamilton outing when they return to the track this weekend at the Ipswich 300 - the fifth event on the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series calendar. FPR have proven speed at...
Ford Performance Racing will be looking to turn around their horror Hamilton outing when they return to the track this weekend at the Ipswich 300 - the fifth event on the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series calendar.
FPR have proven speed at the circuit affectionately known as the 'Paperclip', and are hoping that this year Queensland Raceway could see the breakthrough win that has so far remained elusive this season.
Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon pilot Mark Winterbottom has enjoyed a great run at Ipswich, having never qualified outside the top six at the circuit and never finishing outside the top ten in the 11 races he has driven at QR for FPR since 2006.
The round winner in 2008, Winterbottom scored the most points for the weekend last year, however with the abolishment of 'round winners' he was not recognised for the achievement in an official sense. So essentially, Winterbottom is aiming for his third consecutive 'overall' victory at the circuit.
And to further break down his strong statistics, Frosty's qualified on the front row for the last three occasions - once in 2008 and twice last year (with separate qualifying sessions for each race).
An added twist this weekend is the return of the Dunlop SportMaxx 'Sprint' tyre. The softer compound tyre wears faster, but all cars will have five sets each to qualify and race on over the weekend, rather than the single set used last year.
Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon racer Steve Richards is looking forward to running the entire weekend on the high-grip substitute.
"This weekend will be the first time the entire grid will run on the Dunlop SportMaxx 'Sprint' tyre for a single lap qualifying format which should make things interesting," Richo said.
"In the past everyone's run different strategies depending on whether or not they go out hard from the start or try and save and extend its durability," he added.
"There will be a different mentality this weekend because of the huge difference between how these tyres wear compared to our normal compound so again there will be a lot of new strategies played out - and hopefully ours will be the right one.".
A range of familiar faces will be in action in Falcons on Friday at Queensland Raceway with endurance co-drivers taking their first laps on the season at an official V8 Supercar event.
A concept used for the last two years, teams are able to give their endurance signings more laps during Friday practice sessions as they prepare for the Phillip Island and Bathurst races later in the year.
And given the new rules whereby all primary drivers must stay with their own car (and not pair up in one car with their regular team-mate), these Friday sessions have even more importance this year.
Ford Performance Racing will give Luke Youlden and James Moffat laps and Dean Canto (The Bottle-O Racing Team) will also score some seat time.
The Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series also returns to action at Queensland Raceway with Norton 360 Ford Rising Stars driver James Moffat a handy second in the championship chase.
The Falcon driver sits just 24 points behind former series champion Steve Owen after the opening round in Adelaide and has benefitted from having Mark Winterbottom drive his BF Falcon at a recent test day.
"We had a great test last week that has really boosted my confidence in the car," Moffat said.
"While we weren't struggling at Clipsal I think the changes we have made to the car are going to really pay dividends come race time … essentially we changed the front geometry of the car to bring it more in line with the FG.
Frosty did a handful of laps and verified that the car is handling the way it should be which is a great asset to have access to," Moffat said
History is on his side too, with Ford Falcons winning all six Fujitsu Series rounds held at Queensland Raceway since the category debuted there in 2004.
Falcon drivers have also taken all six pole positions and the pole sitter has always gone on to win the round.
The Ipswich 300 will be televised on Channel 7 nationally on Saturday May 1 (2.30-5.30pm AEST) and Sunday May 2 (12.00-3.00pm AEST).