Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards were today supplementing their armoury with a little help from the Northern Territory Defence Force as Ford Performance Racing looks to guard its V8 Supercar Championship lead this weekend at Hidden Valley ...
Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards were today supplementing their armoury with a little help from the Northern Territory Defence Force as Ford Performance Racing looks to guard its V8 Supercar Championship lead this weekend at Hidden Valley Raceway.
The pair took part in a naval training operation, piloting a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) in a mock-boarding operation after a guided tour of the Navy's Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS ARARAT.
In the afternoon, the army gave FPR's two drivers a lesson in abseiling before letting them sample an eight-wheel-drive ASLAV (Australian Light Armoured Vehicle) at the Darwin base.
FPR was invited to visit the substantial Northern Territory defence installations in the run-up to this weekend's round six of the 2008 championship, with practice starting at 12:50 on Friday.
#5 Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon
"This time with the defence force has been great; something I've never done before. You read about these machines but this is the first time I've been able to get a real feel for them and the whole operation is really impressive.
"In terms of the racing, I don't feel any different coming into this round except that your results give you confidence. If I'd been hundreds of points off, we'd have to just be aggressive and get points but now we can play it our own way. I'm not going to be defensive, but if you're not chasing hundreds of points you don't have to drive past what the car will do."
#6 Castrol FPR Falcon
"Going on boats and riding in armoured vehicles is my idea of fun! I'm pretty interested in most things mechanical so I've loved finding out about what these guys get up to.
"Darwin is definitely my favourite event just because of the atmosphere. It's supported by the government so the whole city gets into it. After the last two rounds, we haven't really benefited from where the car has been due to being shoved off so qualifying well is top priority to keep me out the way of all the on-track incidents. That's easy to say but not as easy to do. We have got to work really hard because the times will be unbelievably close.
"Definitely the car should be a fair bit stronger than it was last year after all the developments we've made to the chassis. We should benefit more at Darwin than we did at Sandown."