October 21, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) arrives in Queensland this week for the V8 Supercar team's first Surfers Paradise V8 Supercar street fight armed with added confidence following the team's strong Bathurst performance and a new race...
October 21, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) arrives in Queensland this week for the V8 Supercar team's first Surfers Paradise V8 Supercar street fight armed with added confidence following the team's strong Bathurst performance and a new race number for one of the team's BA Falcons.
The FPV FPR Falcon of Queensland driver David Besnard will appear with a new race number, changing from 19 to 7, giving this major blue oval racing team three racing numbers in sequence 5 (Ford Credit FPR Falcon - Glenn Seton), 6 (CAT FPR Falcon - Craig Lowndes), and 7 (FPV FPR Falcon - David Besnard) from this point on.
Celebration time following Craig Lowndes' and Glenn Seton's second place at Bathurst was very short lived as the frantic rush to prepare the team's three FPR Falcons for this weekend's bumper Championship round resulted in an around the clock working schedule for the FPR crew. This included the race preparation of the team's three FPR Falcons, with two of the team's cars requiring extensive panel and sub-assembly repairs following accidents at Mount Panorama.
Extensive repair and development work on Seton's Ford Credit FPR Falcon continues today and tomorrow, with the car being transported separately to the Gold Coast in time for the races.
Surfers Paradise is one of only two temporary street circuits on the V8 Supercar Championship Series calendar, and the team will only have two 25 minute practice sessions to develop fast set-ups for Lowndes, Seton and Besnard before qualifying.
The exciting 4.5 kilometre Surfers Paradise street circuit will undoubtedly present a number of unique challenges for FPR's engineers and drivers this weekend.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "This is a physically demanding stop and go street circuit that requires 100 per cent driving all the way in order to gain a strong result. The team is on a high following our Bathurst performance and we are confident of the CAT FPR Falcon being very strong on the streets of Surfers Paradise."
#5 Glenn Seton - "I'm looking forward to racing to a strong result at Surfers, as this is such a great event. Following on from our Bathurst podium, a good result at this round would lift me considerably in the Championship standings. The layout of this street circuit is makes it the most vulnerable for accidents, but you have to give it your very best to come away with a major result."
#7 David Besnard - "This is one of the most enjoyable races of the year because of the atmosphere of the entire event. This is as close to a home race as I get and for a street circuit it is a very challenging and exciting track to compete at in a V8 Supercar. I had mixed results last year but enjoyed excellent car speed, so I know what to expect from this circuit. I think we can be very competitive this weekend."
FPR Chief Engineer - John Russell - "Following Craig and Glenn's success at Bathurst we head to Surfers Paradise with strong optimism, albeit that this is yet another new circuit for us. Detailed work on Glenn's car has meant that it has to be transported to Surfers separately, but all will be completed well in time for the start of the round. We intend to make our mark on this event as best we can and we look forward to two exciting street races."
This weekend's Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge comprises of two 100 kilometre races on the concrete walled and unforgiving seaside circuit. Action starts with the opening practice sessions and qualifying on Friday, with one race each day on Saturday and Sunday.
This double header event for Australian V8 Supercars and CART Champ Cars on Queensland's Gold Coast is one of the most popular for Australian and foreign race fans, attracting well over 150,000 spectators each year.
FPR drivers describe sections of the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit.
Craig Lowndes - Turn 1 - "This is the first chicane, the approach is difficult, you arc right before you enter the left hander, it is a semi-quick chicane and there is a very hungry set of tyres on the left side. In '98 I got caught up in Steven Ellery's accident there and turned his EL Falcon into a Ford Focus within a flash."
Glenn Seton - Turn 6 - ANA Corner - "This corner has a high speed, blind entry into the braking area, it is critical to be on the right hand side of the braking area so you don't lock the right front wheel. If you get this corner right you can gain a lot of time there."
David Besnard - Turns 9/10/11 - "The back chicane represents a very difficult series of corners and its not much fun in a heavy V8 Supercar. If you get the entry wrong you can't recover through the next two turns and you end up losing heaps of time."