Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to this weekend's Armor All Gold Coast 600 with a revised driver line-up after Will Power was unable to travel to Surfers Paradise following a large crash during the season-ending IndyCar race in Las Vegas on Monday morning.
Power, who did not sustain serious injuries in the crash that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon, will not make the trip to Australian as a consequence of the accident.
His place alongside Mark Winterbottom in the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon will instead be taken by Northern Irishman Richard Lyons who has recent V8 Supercar experience and is also a successful campaigner in Japanese Formula Nippon and Super GT.
Will Davison will share his #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon with former Formula 1 ace Mika Salo who drove on the Gold Coast last year so will be among the more experienced international drivers.
Paul Dumbrell will be joined in the #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon by another driver with F1 experience in Austrian Christian Klien.
Klien is on 'loan' to FPR from fellow Prodrive-owned team Aston Martin Racing which runs Mark Webber's former team-mate in endurance racing.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 will feature two 300-kilometre races along with a Top 10 Shootout on Saturday.
All international drivers will attend a test day on Wednesday at Queensland Raceway to familiarise themselves with V8 Supercar machinery.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
Championship position/points: 5th / 1687
"Firstly, I would like to extend my condolences to Dan Wheldon's family. What happened was extremely sad and my thoughts are with his wife and children. I am grateful that my team-mate Will Power was not seriously injured, though it is a real shame he won't be making the trip. Richard Lyons has stepped in and is very experienced so I look forward to working with him and trying to at the very least replicate last year's podium. We will be testing on Wednesday now which gives us a little more time to get Richard settled in. The Gold Coast 600 is one of the best events we go to and I don't expect this year to be any different."
Will Davison – #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon
Championship position/points: 6th / 1646
"It is times like this when the whole motorsport community comes together. As racing drivers we love doing what we do, but it is all insignificant when things like this happen. Dan was clearly a great driver and more importantly, a very liked and respected person out of the car. It is really quite hard to believe what has happened. It is just hard to find the right words to describe the emotions. We like having the IndyCar drivers here as they are laid back like us and their series has a similar vibe. We will go racing this weekend because it is what we do. It is what we all love doing. The Gold Coast always puts on a great event and I am sure this year will be no different. I can't wait to work with Mika and help him get comfortable in the car and get up to speed quickly. I know he had a tough run last year so it would be great if we could both do well."
Paul Dumbrell – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon
Championship position/points: 23rd / 952
"The Gold Coast 600 was a great event last year. Everyone was a little worried about the format initially but it was a rousing success and certainly provided a lot of action. Unfortunately not all of it was positive for us. This year's event will obviously have a sombre tone due to the unfortunate accident in Las Vegas where a great driver was taken from us. I send my condolences to Dan Wheldon's family as this is the part of motorsport that none of us want to accept. We will race in his honour this weekend. Last year I was a strong fifth with Jacques (Villeneuve) and Christian's reputation and all his F1 experience obviously brings a great level of commitment to the team and we look forward to having him in the car for the weekend."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal
FPR Team Championship position/points: 3rd / 3358
"The Gold Coast 600 has become one of the flagship events on the V8 Supercar calendar though obviously this year's event will be tinged with sadness following the passing of Dan Wheldon. At times like this the whole motorsport community rallies around each other and our thoughts are certainly with his family. We have a great trio of drivers in Salo, Klien and Richard Lyons who has accepted the role to replace Will Power on short notice so we appreciate his assistance in difficult circumstances. All three are quick, experienced and add a great dynamic to our team. The Surfers Paradise track is punishing, yet produces exciting racing so I hope we can carry over the strong run we've had there in recent years."