Pukekohe: Ford Performance Racing preview

FPR PLANS TO BID FAREWELL TO PUKEKOHE THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE April 16, 2007 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to the final V8 Supercar round at New Zealand's Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend seeking to go one better than the team's storming...

FPR PLANS TO BID FAREWELL TO PUKEKOHE THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE

April 16, 2007 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to the final V8 Supercar round at New Zealand's Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend seeking to go one better than the team's storming second place finish at the Auckland circuit last season.

Pukekohe Park Raceway, a shared horse racing and motor racing venue, staged its first motor race in 1963, some 18 years before Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom was born.

The talented 25 year old driver heralded his arrival as a Championship challenger at this event last season when he raced to runner-up honours. This began his exciting charge to third place in the 2006 Drivers' Championship, laying the foundations for FPR's runner-up finish in the Teams Championship. This will be Winterbottom's fourth visit to Pukekohe Park Raceway and his second with FPR.

This is also a special V8 Supercar round for Castrol FPR Falcon driver Steve Richards, who was born in the Auckland suburb of Otahuhu. This is something of a sentimental home race for the experienced driver, who has only once finished outside of the top ten in all six of the V8 Supercar rounds held at Pukekohe Park to date. The 33 year old returns to New Zealand as one of the fastest Ford drivers of the class of 2007.

The New Zealand round is also one of the most popular in the Championship, with more than 103,000 fans visiting the round last season. This record may be broken at this final Pukekohe event before the V8 Supercar Championship moves to a new home, a temporary street circuit located in the city of Hamilton.

Pukekohe Park Raceway is the fastest circuit of the V8 Supercar Championship series. Both FPR Falcon drivers will reach top speeds in excess of 270 kph on the circuit's back straight. The venue's relatively short 2.8 kilometre length and sweeping layout gives it the highest average speed.

#6 Steve Richards - "This is an exciting circuit and a great event is always challenging. I particularly like turns six and seven heading onto the main straight, that can be a very exciting ride particularly with some bumps thrown in to make sure that you are on top of your game. We learned a great deal about the Castrol FPR Falcon in Perth and the team has completed a lot of work since then to ensure that we are competing as the top Ford team at this round. On the nostalgic side, I have some mixed emotions as we have always enjoyed great racing at Pukekohe, but as the series grows it moves on."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "It is great to be returning to New Zealand as I have very happy memories of last season and how things really took off for me and FPR after that round. This circuit particularly suits our cars and with mere tenths of a second and less between the field, it will be a very close and competitive round. The circuit is enjoyable to drive on but it has some major league bumps that can affect the car considerably. The goal is to go one better than last season and take my first solo V8 Supercar round win at the last Pukekohe V8 Supercar round."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "We have spent a lot of time between Perth and this round ensuring that we have two fast and reliable cars for the New Zealand round. Our performance at Pukekohe last season signaled our arrival as a major challenger for the Championship and we have made significant developments since then so we are looking forward to an exciting trans-Tasman round."

V8 Supercar action starts with two hours of practice on Friday afternoon followed by qualifying and the opening 43 lap race on Saturday, followed by two Sunday races of the same length. (Auckland time is two hours ahead of Melbourne/ EST). All races will be televised across Australia on the Seven Network over the weekend from 2:00pm - 5:30pm EST on Saturday and from 12:00pm to 3:00pm EST on Sunday.

-credit: fpr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Winterbottom , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards