Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has finished its longest ever season by evaluating a host of new talent at its final test day of the year yesterday at Winton in northern Victoria.
Regular driver and dual Homebush pole-sitter Will Davison was joined by new enduro co-driver John McIntyre and a host of other drivers just four days before the team breaks for Christmas.
Davison shared the #6 Tradingpost FPR Falcon with McIntyre and his young cousin James who got his first taste of a V8 Supercar.
FPR stalwart Steve Richards did the bulk of the driving in the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon as regular driver Mark Winterbottom was overseas on holiday.
Davison handled most of the running in his car in order to evaluate some updated components the team was testing for next season - a key reason for holding the test so late in the year.
"Despite being quite a hot day we got through a massive amount of stuff," Davison said.
"We had a few new things to try and each one seemed to be an improvement so it was all really positive. I ran most of the day on soft tyres and the car was great. It was really fast and enjoyable to drive and we made some good steps forward so the team's hard work has paid off.
"John is very enthusiastic and motivated. He is going to be a pleasure to work with and has the right attitude. James also did well especially as our cars are so different to the open-wheelers he drives in America. He took a while to adapt to the brakes but by the end of the day he was right up there."
The team also ran Development Series driver Chaz Mostert and fellow young gun Tim Blanchard in Mostert's regular TEAM NAVY mount which ran as car #55 for the day.
McIntyre also drove the temporary car #55 to gain more experience in FPR machinery, while James Davison briefly sampled the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon late in the day.
Team Principal Tim Edwards enjoyed having a number of new drivers try the squad's cars and welcomed the impending shut down period which will bring an end to 12 continuous months of on track running.
"It was great to end the season with a faultless day of running especially with so many new drivers in our cars," Edwards said.
"Will and Richo used their experience to assist us with development parts while John, Chaz, Tim and James all assisted us in different ways and each set good lap times given their varying degrees of experience.
"Chaz and Tim were most impressed with the soft tyres as they have never tried them before.
"The team now has a few days to strip the cars ready for their end of season refresh before we have a few weeks off over Christmas and the New Year. We have been on track since the group test in January so we are all looking forward to a well-earned rest."