October 2, 2003 - The Ford Performance Racing (FPR) V8 Supercar team makes its Bathurst debut next weekend, well prepared for the biggest V8 Supercar battle of them all, the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at the majestic Mount Panorama road circuit. By...
October 2, 2003 - The Ford Performance Racing (FPR) V8 Supercar team makes its Bathurst debut next weekend, well prepared for the biggest V8 Supercar battle of them all, the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at the majestic Mount Panorama road circuit.
By far the best known motor racing event in Australia and among the world's greatest motor races, Bathurst is the pinnacle of the sport, regardless of what the Championship outcome may be. This 1000 kilometre test of man and machine has very special significance for every team and driver taking part, while presenting Australia's V8 Supercar teams with the ultimate challenge in team strategy, outright speed, reliability and physical endurance.
The prospects of a Ford victory at Bathurst this year are high and FPR heads to Bathurst with plans of being one of the leading blue oval teams at Mount Panorama. The team's three BA Falcon V8 Supercars will be driven by multiple champions Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton, rising stars David Besnard and Owen Kelly, and young chargers Adam Macrow and Darren Hossack.
The 2003 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 also represents a special milestone for the most successful Ford driver in the V8 Supercar category, with Glenn Seton making his 20th start in the great race - a race that the 38 year old double Champion is yet to win during his career, that includes two V8 Supercar Championship titles.
1996 winner Craig Lowndes, who will be competing in his 9th Bathurst classic this year, wants nothing more than to win Australia's biggest race in the CAT FPR Falcon with Seton. The 29 year old is a crowd favourite at Bathurst following his numerous gutsy performances at the mountain ever since making his debut in Pole position at this unforgiving circuit in 1995. The triple champion has focussed his efforts on developing the team's endurance race set up with Seton since Sandown.
Team FPR's highest finishers at Sandown, Ford Credit FPR Falcon drivers David Besnard and Owen Kelly, have proven to be fast and consistent as a driving combination, two vitally important factors for success at Bathurst. Armed with the data gained from the recent team test days, confidence is high for this exciting young FPR duo. Besnard has been one of the most promising Ford drivers to race at Bathurst since making his Mount Panorama debut in 2000, but is yet to gain a finish in the great race.
FPV FPR Falcon drivers Adam Macrow and Darren Hossack complete FPR's Bathurst endurance race team, the duo proving their potential after a solid race performance at Sandown in testing conditions. The two FPR rookies have strong Bathurst racing experience between them, so the team has every hope of a strong and consistent performance from the third FPR Falcon at Mount Panorama.
According to all six FPR drivers, this year's 41st running of Australia's great race will be the most competitive yet.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "It doesn't matter how many times you go back to Bathurst or how many laps you do there, you always learn something new every year. You put everything on the line every single lap across the top of the mountain and you have to be very precise and extremely calculated in your passing moves. This is the ultimate motor race in Australia and nothing compares to success on the mountain."
#6 Glenn Seton - "The exhilaration that you get from racing at Bathurst is second to none and I have always looked forward to going back every year. This year will be a very memorable one for me as I have an excellent opportunity to win being paired with Craig. There are many competitors who are in a position to win this race, but we have done a lot of work behind the scenes to achieve our goal of winning, so I hope to be adding my name to the winners list for the first time next Sunday."
#19 David Besnard - "Mount Panorama is a brilliant circuit and it can bite you for being too aggressive - but you certainly have to have a big go at it to be fast there. You have to work your way up to setting fast lap times at Bathurst as there is precious little margin for error. This will be my 4th start and I am still yet to finish it, so I am looking forward to this year's race more than ever."
#19 Owen Kelly - "We had good race speed at Sandown and the team has made a lot of progress since then during our recent two day test at Phillip Island. David and I have proven to be a good enduro combination and we plan to be at our best for Bathurst, the biggest race of the year."
#5 Darren Hossack - "We know that we have a fast car for a dry race and with the detailed testing completed leading up to this race, we are well prepared for anything that this 1000 kilometre race throws at us. Adam really stepped up to the mark at Sandown and I'm sure that we both will do the same at Bathurst."
#5 Adam Macrow - "Darren and I have raced at Bathurst enough times to not be daunted by the place, which is important as you need a lot of confidence to compete strongly at Mount Panorama. We will approach this race exactly the same way that we approached Sandown, with the aim of being consistently fast, to do good pit stops and to try and finish within the top ten."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "Bathurst is a truly demanding event on the cars, drivers and the entire team. Sandown was a clear indicator of what we can expect, however with all of our drivers having good Bathurst track knowledge, we expect to present a stronger challenge to the lead pack. I'm sure an exciting and eventful week lies ahead of us!"
V8 Supercar action starts at Bathurst with the opening practice sessions on Thursday (October 9), Qualifying on Friday, the Top Ten Shootout on Saturday and Australia's most famous motor race scheduled to start at 10:00am on Sunday.
FPR DRIVERS' PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES ON BATHURST
#6 Craig Lowndes - "Bathurst is very special to me - it is the biggest race of the year and unlike a Championship where you can rectify your problems or mistakes as the season goes on - you only get one shot, one single chance each year to win it. This can be an amazing race as the drivers and teams put absolutely everything into it, but as Glenn well knows, this race can also be a major heart breaker. I will be taking on the mountain for the 9th time of my career this year and I have been fortunate enough to have won it once.
"The crowd make this race fantastic - you can hear them at the start and end of the race as you roar through the top of the mountain and this just adds to the thrill of it. Together with Glenn and with all of the testing work done by the team leading to this race, we are planning to play our part in what could possibly be Ford's best ever Bathurst result this year."
#6 Glenn Seton - "I have long and fond memories of Bathurst, from the early days of going to Mount Panorama with my father when he used to compete there and when he won it in 1965, to the excitement of competing in my first race on the mountain in 1983 in a Ford. To have attended the race as a child and to actually race on this famous track has always remained a huge thrill for me. Mount Panorama is one of those circuits that I call the Indianapolis of Australia - is is the biggest motor race that Australia has ever had and competing in it is a privilege for any racing driver."
#19 David Besnard - "I get butterflies in my stomach each time I drive into Bathurst for the great race. When you are in town and you look up and see Mount Panorama written on the mountain side you know that you are at a special place, it always reminds me of how I used to watch the race as a kid, dreaming of one day racing there."
#19 Owen Kelly - "In my opinion the Mount Panorama circuit is the most enjoyable of all because it is so unique, it has a bit of everything to challenge any racing driver. For me, winning at Bathurst would be more rewarding than winning a Championship title."
#5 Adam Macrow - "This is the one race that I would be pleased to hand over any Championship title to win. The Bathurst 1000 winner's trophy represents so much to me that everything else just pales into insignificance. As much as I would love to win major titles in the future, I would trade any of them for a Bathurst victory. This is such a demanding race of man and machine that it has a very special and unique appeal."
#5 Darren Hossack - "You realise just how much you love racing when you are in the driver's seat of a V8 Supercar at Bathurst. I probably don't have the emotional attachment to the place that many of the other drivers have, I just treat it like any other circuit or race in terms of putting in my best performance."