Hamilton: FPR preview

NEW CHALLENGE FOR RACING RIVALS Ford Performance Racing's Steve Richards has a head start for this weekend's racing after acting as a consultant for the development of the V8 Supercar Championship Series' newest circuit: Hamilton, New ...

NEW CHALLENGE FOR RACING RIVALS

Ford Performance Racing's Steve Richards has a head start for this weekend's racing after acting as a consultant for the development of the V8 Supercar Championship Series' newest circuit: Hamilton, New Zealand.

Richo, who was born in Auckland and lived in the area for three years, has been working with engineers since 2006 deciding the street circuit's eventual route, which he says has some great features including a steep cambered roundabout that he is particularly looking forward to racing.

Mark Winterbottom has proven quick to master new circuits, racking up four podium finishes from six starts at Bahrain's International circuit, which was introduced to the V8 Supercar calendar in 2006.

He and Richo arrive in New Zealand tomorrow for this weekend's racing, and will get their first taste of the circuit during Friday's test session at 12:50pm local time.

Steve Richards #6 Castrol FPR Falcon

"About two years ago Hamilton asked me as a drivers' representative to walk the circuit with the engineers and have a look at things like corner radius and run-off areas. I actually have had to think about the track quite a bit since then and I suppose that does give you a bit better feel for the place than if you just rock up on the day!

"I've been there three times in total and the track has changed quite a bit from the first time I saw it. Initially it was a lot longer, by about 1.2 kms, but they shortened it to make sure the spectators got plenty of action.

"The track is very wide for a street circuit so I don't think we'll have as many issues with walls as we do somewhere like Indy!"

Mark Winterbottom #5 Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon

"The Skaifes of V8 have been around for 20 years and every time you go to a track you get better. Coming to a brand new circuit is definitely an advantage for me because it evens everyone up.

"You can approach it in two ways: slowly learn the track or push hard straight away with the possible result of having a crash. I'm not going to crash but if the car's good to start with it makes the track easier to learn because on the first ten laps you're concentrating on that rather than having to make changes to the set up.

"There's no data for Hamilton, which doesn't just mean engineering figures; it's your memory bank as well. After every round most drivers write down notes about where there are bumps and curves, gear changes, that sort of stuff. Now you go out from scratch. We do walk around the track, which helps a little bit with run-offs and gravel traps, but you can't feel the bumps and those little things that upset the car. When you approach a corner at 260 km/h it's all very different."

Tim Edwards Team Principal

Tim Edwards will not be attending this weekend's racing after today being admitted to hospital with appendicitis. He is currently undergoing surgery.

-credit: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Winterbottom , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards