Sydney: ORRCON STEEL/CASTROL pre-race news

WINTERBOTTOM AND RICHARDS TAKE TO THE WATER ON SYDNEY HARBOUR Ford Performance Racing V8 Supercar drivers Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards took to the helm of a pair of Volvo 60 Ocean Racing Yachts on the Sydney Harbour today, ahead of this...

WINTERBOTTOM AND RICHARDS TAKE TO THE WATER ON SYDNEY HARBOUR

Ford Performance Racing V8 Supercar drivers Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards took to the helm of a pair of Volvo 60 Ocean Racing Yachts on the Sydney Harbour today, ahead of this weekend's inaugural Sydney Telstra 500.

The sailing challenge saw the pair each head up a team consisting of customers from FPR team sponsors, Orrcon Steel and Castrol, along with a selection of professional crewmembers from the Kookaburra Group.

For Winterbottom, who grew up in the Sydney suburb of Doonside, it was the first time that he had taken to the iconic piece of water aboard a sailing vessel.

"It was certainly a different experience and provided me with a new perspective, along with a real appreciation for the sport of sailing," said Winterbottom.

"When you watch the sailing races on the TV it all looks pretty cruizy, however, anyone who has done any form of sailing knows that this is far from the truth. When you're putting the spinnakers up it's all systems go.

"As a team, the Orrcon Steel guys really dug in and used the day as a team building exercise. It was a great experience but I can assure you I have no intentions of changing professions from a racing car driver to a yachtsman."

Like his team-mate, today's activity was a new experience for Richards.

"Today was a great deal of fun. To experience what it is really like to be on board one of these big ocean racers was simply amazing," said Richards.

"Not only does it make you appreciate the physical side of yachting, but also how technical the sport can be."

Both drivers are excited about this weekend's final round of the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series around the Sydney Olympic Park precinct.

"This is the time for Sydney to shine with what is shaping up to be one of, if not the, biggest V8 event on the calendar," said Richards.

"I think every team member, every driver and V8 fan has been looking forward to this weekend's races and I can't wait to take to the circuit for the first time on Friday."

For Winterbottom, driver of the Orrcon Steel FPR Faclon, this weekend's event is something dreams are made of.

"Coming from Sydney I've been looking forward to this event for a long time, I drove my Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon across the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a part of the launch and now I'm really excited about this weekend," said Winterbottom.

"As a team we've really shown some strong speed over the final half of the year and I'm looking forward to continuing this trend at Sydney's Olympic Park circuit this weekend.

"It would be a very special moment if I was able to win the inaugural event, everyone remembers who wins the first race anywhere and I'm hoping that my name will be the first one on the trophy come Sunday afternoon."

Richards and Winterbottom will take to the Sydney Olympic Park circuit for practice on Friday followed by qualifying and a pair of 250km races on Saturday and Sunday.

-credit: bammedia

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Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Winterbottom