TAKING IT TO THE STREETS AT SURFERS PARADISE
Round 11 of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship takes place this weekend at one of the series' most exciting venues, the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit on Queensland's Gold Coast.
The 2007 event marks the 12th visit by V8 Supercars to Surfers Paradise and the 6th time that this event has been a Championship points earning round. The 4.4 kilometre, concrete walled circuit is one of the fastest temporary street circuits in the world and it has always managed to produce exciting V8 Supercar sprint races through the years.
Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to the Gold Coast in extremely strong form, having dominated qualifying and all but the final 14 laps of the Bathurst 1000 a fortnight ago. The Prodrive team has a strong pedigree on the streets of Surfers Paradise, with FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom having raced to runner-up honours at this venue last season.
After sharing the driving of the Castrol FPR Falcon with team mate Steve Richards at Bathurst, 26 year old Winterbottom returns to his number 5 Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon this weekend for his fourth Surfers Paradise start. The FPR Falcon will once again appear in the striking new white and blue GT Cobra livery that proved to be very popular among race fans at Bathurst. After his outstanding top ten shoot-out based pole position at Bathurst, Winterbottom now finds himself level with HRT rival Todd Kelly for the most pole positions gained for the season at three each.
Castrol FPR Falcon driver Steve Richards returns to the Gold Coast in one of the fastest cars of the field for his 11th Surfers Paradise V8 Supercar street fight. The highly experienced racer has gained top five qualifying and race results at this event in the past but is yet to take home one of the event's unique surfboard trophies. Richards' raw speed and trademark consistency should pay dividends at this round which will feature practice and qualifying on Friday, followed by one 120 kilometre race on Saturday and two 120 kilometre races on Sunday.
This round has a unique carnival atmosphere that each year attracts more than 300,000 spectators. Despite its longevity in the V8 Supercar Championship, this shared top billing event between Australia's V8 Supercar Championship Series and the United States based Champ Car World Series continues to be extremely popular with fans and teams alike.
#6 Steve Richards - "After leaving no doubt at all in the minds of our competitors that FPR has reached a new level of competitiveness at Bathurst, we head to the Gold Coast with a single goal in mind -- to win. This is always an exciting and drama filled round, it has an awesome atmosphere and the team has a strong record at Surfers, so all is pointing towards a strong team performance."
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "The Surfers Paradise Street Circuit is a challenging and exciting circuit to drive, but any street circuit has inherent risks so preserving the car is important. I had a fantastic run to second place at this round last season and nothing would please me more than to take that next step up this weekend. After coming so close at Bathurst, FPR is long overdue for a round victory."
FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards - "At Bathurst we showed exactly what this team is capable of. We are racing to win at Surfers Paradise this weekend and at all of the remaining rounds of the season. We came very close to winning this exciting round last year and we have seen significant driver and team development since then."