June 7, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) is delighted to announce that accomplished international Sportscar and Touring Car racer Alain Menu will be joining the blue oval V8 Supercar team for the 2004 Sandown and Bathurst endurance...
June 7, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) is delighted to announce that accomplished international Sportscar and Touring Car racer Alain Menu will be joining the blue oval V8 Supercar team for the 2004 Sandown and Bathurst endurance races.
This exciting appointment finds 40 year old Menu re-united with his former Williams Touring Car Engineering / Renault Chief Engineer John Russell, with whom Menu (and team mate Jason Plato) gained the 1997 BTCC Drivers, Manufacturers, and Constructors Championships.
Menu is one of the British Touring Car Championship's (BTCC) major success stories, having won the competitive series twice, most recently with the Prodrive Ford Mondeo team in 2000.
>From his motor racing debut in 1985, Menu progressed quickly through two seasons of the French Formula Ford Championship before moving to the United Kingdom to compete in British Formula Ford, then taking on British Formula 3.
At the start of the 1990s, Menu moved to British Formula 3000 for one season, and international F3000 for a further season, making his break into Super Touring by winning a BMW driver evaluation in 1991.
His BTCC debut came in 1992 and despite an off-track injury which cut short his season, he finished ninth overall. Menu competed in every BTCC season from then on and was consistently one of the drivers to watch. In 1997 he finally won the Drivers' Championship title for the first time.
Menu's has gained 36 BTCC race victories during his career and the Swiss driver has also achieved the most points scored and most podium finishes than any other driver in the history of the BTCC Super Touring era.
In 2001 Menu joined Opel to compete in the DTM (German Touring Masters). He cemented a highly successful relationship with Prodrive by driving a Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello in a selected number of races in the FIA GT Championship - his first foray into Sportscar racing. In re-forming his driving partnership with Rickard Rydell, the pair enjoyed a well-deserved victory at Jarama in Spain.
He remained with Opel in the DTM for a further two years, and was an important part of the Prodrive Ferrari team's driver line up for Sebring and Le Mans in 2002. He renewed his links with the Ferrari 550 again last year, driving with Tomas Enge and Peter Kox as part of the GTS Class winning team at the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta.
Menu has competed at Bathurst on three occasions, in 1997 with Renault , in 1998 with Tomas Mezera (Holden) and in 2000 with Ford V8 Supercar team Larkham Motorsport.
The new FPR endurance race driver will be joining Peter Kox and Tomas Enge in the Prodrive Ferrari 550 at the Le Mans 24 Hour next weekend, before heading down under for his first test days with FPR on June 21 and 22 at Victoria's Winton Raceway.
An announcement in relation to FPR's second endurance race co-driver and the team's endurance race driver pairings will be made following the test days.
Alain Menu - "I always enjoy my time in Australia, it is a country that I love and the racing is great. I competed at Bathurst with Renault in 1997, with Tomas Mezera in 1998 and with Mark Larkham in 2000 and I have always been eager to return. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity than to join FPR for the Sandown and Bathurst enduros, learning from two of the best drivers in the category with Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton. I will also be re-united with John Russell with whom I have previously enjoyed a successful relationship. I can't wait to get back there."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "I'm looking forward to working with Alain again - his proven speed, versatility and Bathurst experience makes it logical for Prodrive to continue their successful association with him in V8 Supercars. Alain is very enthusiastic about the challenges ahead and I am sure that he will be a major asset to the team at these events."
FPR Managing Director David Flint - "It is excellent for FPR to welcome a driver of this level of experience to the team for the 2004 endurance races. Alain's Bathurst experience will assist the team greatly and he has enjoyed major success with Prodrive in a number of international motor racing categories. While we have not yet confirmed our driver pairings for Sandown and Bathurst, it is very re-assuring to have secured a co-driver of this calibre at this early stage."