Bahrain: Ford Performance Racing preview

FPR TRAVELS TO HISTORIC BAHRAIN V8 SUPERCAR ROUND November 20, 2006 - After coming so close to gaining their second round win of the season at the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge two weeks ago, Ford Performance Racing (FPR) joins the entire V8...


November 20, 2006 - After coming so close to gaining their second round win of the season at the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge two weeks ago, Ford Performance Racing (FPR) joins the entire V8 Supercar circus on an historic 12,000 kilometre trip to the Middle East to compete at one of the world's most spectacular racing circuits, the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) this week.

This is the longest distance that the Australian based series has ever ventured for a Championship round, representing a massive logisitical project for all involved. FPR has has scaled down on its usual spare parts and equipment inventory that would normally fill the team's 25 metre B-double transporter, to what can be taken inside two air freight containers weighing three and a half tonne each.

Both FPR Falcons returned from the challenging Tasmanian round in perfect condition, ensuring no delay in the swift preparation of Jason Bright's CAT FPR Falcon and Mark Winterbottom's Ford Credit FPR Falcon for the three Desert 400 sprint races ahead.

According to FPR Crew Chief Chris O'Toole, "Our experience with fly-away events in China last year and New Zealand earlier this year has served us well as we made changes to our regular loading process to ensure that this would also be fly-away container friendly, making it a smooth transition. We also fitted a number of endurance race mileage components to both FPR Falcons before the Tasmanian round, to make our preparation work on the cars between rounds much easier."

Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom heads to Bahrain in close pursuit of the Championship leaders at third in the Championship standings. The sensation of the 2006 V8 Supercar Series and one of the most consistent drivers in the field at third in the Championship standinds, a strong performance at this round by the 25 year old will boost his chances to turn the tables on his far more experienced Championship rivals.

CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright is one of only two Australian drivers making the trip to Bahrain who has won an off-shore V8 Supercar Championship Series round, having won in New Zealand in 2004. Bright boasts an extensive international career, primarily in the United States, where he competed in the 1996 Formula Ford 2000 and 2000 Indy Lights Championships. Currently 5th in the Championship standings, this is a very important round for the 33 year old star driver to ensure a strong finish in his second last race with FPR.

The Bahraini V8 Supercar round features a unique Thursday to Saturday schedule to accommodate Bahrain's traditional weekend. The predominant 2006 triple sprint race format applies for the Desert 400 with a 100 kilometre race on Friday and twin 140 kilometre races on Saturday. The V8 Supercars will use a shortened 3.6 kilometre version of the 5.4 kilometre F1 circuit, known as the Paddock track, to enable spectators to see the cars more often.

#6 Jason Bright - "From what I have seen the Bahrain International Circuit will suit our cars very well. It is wide, smooth and flowing and the CAT FPR Falcon has been at its best at circuits like this. It shouldn't take us long to find the set-up that we need to continue our form as the fastest Ford team in the field. Our intention is to go one better than we did in Tasmania and take another double-podium, this time in first and second place! It will be a new challenge for everyone and I am looking forward to competing at this great circuit and to visiting Bahrain for the first time."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "I couldn't be more excited about my chances at Bahrain, because the advantages that the more experienced drivers have on Australian circuits is irrelevant. It comes down to who has set-up the fastest car and who is the best driver on the day at a debut event like this. The FPR Falcons are best suited to this style of circuit and the Desert 400 represents a realistic opportunity for me to take a solo round win and to accumulate more points towards my Championship."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "Having been to Bahrain I know that this fantastic circuit will suit our cars better than what Symmons Plains did and we were within an inch of winning that round - so we head to the Middle East confident of our chances of taking a historic win for Ford. Having said this, the Championship has been closely fought all season and we don't expect the Desert 400 to be any different. We are all looking forward to it."

The majority of the V8 Supercar action will take place during the evening Australian time with Bahrain being eight hours behind the daylight saving states on the Eastern seaboard.

Network Ten's Desert 400 race broadcasts are scheduled for Friday (Nov 24) at 11.40pm to 1.05am; Saturday (Nov 25) 10.40pm to midnight; Sunday (Nov 26) 2.30pm to 5.00pm (Eastern Daylight Saving Time).

-credit: fpor

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Bright , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Edwards