TAKE IT TO THE STREET SAYS FPR Ford Performance Racing's Steve Richards has responded to speculation that Barbagallo Raceway could lose its V8 Supercar Championship Series round once out of contract, saying he would be sad not to return to his...
TAKE IT TO THE STREET SAYS FPR
Ford Performance Racing's Steve Richards has responded to speculation that Barbagallo Raceway could lose its V8 Supercar Championship Series round once out of contract, saying he would be sad not to return to his former glory ground.
Richo, who will race there in the championship's fourth 2008 round next weekend, won his 1994 Formula Ford Championship at the Western Australia track and has subsequently enjoyed immense success there, scoring a pole position and two round wins throughout his V8 career.
"I have a great affinity with it," he said. "I like the layout and the flow of the track. For me, when the day comes, it will be sad to see its last round but as a sport now we have so much more to offer WA race fans."
After witnessing the success of Hamilton Street Circuit's inaugural round in New Zealand last month, Richo says there is definitely an argument for Perth to follow suit.
"The Barbagallo event itself is fantastic," he said. "Every year they have to shut the gates on Sunday afternoon because it's a capacity crowd. That is an unfortunate situation for motorsport in Perth because, for the sport to grow any more in Western Australia, there needs to be a different location.
"WA fans love the sport and they're starved of it, being so far away from the other events, but we can create an even better event for them here that would pay its own way. We can clearly see, from the success of somewhere like Hamilton, that if there was the possibility of a street event the growth could be huge."
Hamilton saw crowds of more than 172,000 over three days and was regarded an absolute success by industry aficionados who branded it a template for future projects.
"We're heading that way as a championship anyway," said FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards. "Townsville will be coming on board next year and there's been talk about having a street race in Sydney for years. It's about taking the racing to the people and making it more of an event. If you look at Clipsal and Hamilton, they have concerts in the evening and all sorts of activities, which attract a much wider fan base."
The V8 Supercar Championship Series arrives in Perth next weekend, with practice starting on Friday 9 May at 12:50 local time and Richo is confident he can keep up his Barbagallo momentum.
"Our cars are a lot different now in terms of engine configuration since the Perth round last year," said the #6 Castrol FPR Falcon driver. "We've come a long way forwards and our expectations are that we'll be a lot more competitive. We've had a 180 degree sea change in our philosophy for the chassis design."