Ford Performance Racing (FPR) is making its final preparations for this weekend's non-championship round at the Australian Grand Prix just two days after its pole position and podium at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
The factory Ford team showed it is getting closer to recording its first win of the 2011 V8 Supercar season after all three cars qualified and finished inside the top 10 during Sunday's second race where Mark Winterbottom claimed third and Will Davison pole position.
Winterbottom, Davison and Paul Dumbrell are eagerly anticipating getting back on track and experiencing both the Albert Park circuit's new facilities and the event's unique qualifying format.
As the main support act for the Formula One headliner the series now has its own pit lane, garages and corporate suites, providing all teams with conditions more conducive to a normal championship round.
The new infrastructure, alongside the Formula garages, also comes with a new qualifying format where the provisional pole sitter after Thursday afternoon's 30-miniute session will affectively decide who makes the top 10 shootout.
The fastest driver will select (unsighted) one of 13 tokens from a box. The tokens will be numbered 8-20 and the number marked on the selected token will reflect the number of positions from pole position that will be inverted.
For example in the most extreme scenario, if the fastest driver selects number 20, the cars that qualified from position one to 20th will be reversed. The driver who qualified first starts race one 20th, and the drivers that qualified 11th to 20th enter the top 10 shootout in reverse order.
FPR and the rest of the field will race three 50-minute races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the winner of the non-championship round determined by the points accumulated across qualifying and all three races.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon:
"I really enjoy the Australian Grand Prix race as it is a home race, I can stay in my own bed and this year is actually a proper race for us so with double the amount of laps, pit stops, soft tyres, the lucky-dip for top 10 shootout - I am really looking forward to it. It genuinely is our home race and we will be going hard. I predict an eventful weekend and with a bit of cash on the line it has the recipe for a pretty eventful weekend."
Will Davison – #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon:
"We are go to race to a different format this weekend so it should be good. The pressure is off at the Grand Prix round so you always try your hardest but without the usual expectations. I think I am the only driver in the field to finish in the top 10 in the last five years and I have had a few podium finishes there so I really enjoy racing at Albert Park. We also have Dunlop's soft tyres and a reverse grid-type qualifying format so it is all a bit of a lottery and should be good racing."
Paul Dumbrell – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon:
"It is great to be racing again only a few days after Clipsal. The Grand Prix has always been an unusual event for us as we've never had a proper pit lane or other facilities, but that all changes this year so we are set for some great racing. The new pit facilities will make life much easier, we get to use the soft tyre and we have a unique format for qualifying so fans can expect great racing. We showed at Clipsal that our FPR Falcon has the pace to compete at the front so we should be aiming for more of the same at the Grand Prix."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal:
"It is hard to believe we are racing again so soon after Clipsal. The team has put in a Herculean effort to prepare our three cars in just two days. This year's Grand Prix format promises to deliver exciting racing and I know all the teams are eagerly anticipating using the new dedicated pit garages and pit lane which the event has built especially for us. The team showed in Adelaide we are getting close to winning our first race of the year so it would be great to record it in front of our hometown fans at Albert Park this weekend."