Ford Performance Racing is buoyed by the lessons learnt from its first solo test day of 2012 and believes it will be far stronger this year on the resurfaced Queensland Raceway layout.
All four FPR cars plus the team's endurance co-drivers enjoyed a trouble-free day of testing in perfect conditions last week.
Last year's trip to Ipswich was FPR's 2011 low point, yet the team has been on the podium at 13 of the 14 events since so wants nothing more than a strong result to complete the turnaround.
Mark Winterbottom has outscored every driver in the championship in the last six races since Perth at the start of May, while Will Davison still has the most race wins of any driver in 2012 with six.
David Reynolds form continues to impress and he has jumped a remarkable 15 positions in the points since the first event.
Friday morning practice will again see the team's three endurance co-drivers in action.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford:
"We head to Ipswich this year showing how 12 months in motorsport is a long time. We head there confident of challenging for a race win whereas last year it was simply survival. It is always nice to race our rivals on their home track as it puts the pressure on them and we hope to knock them off - there is a lot more pride winning on someone else's track. I've driven the Car of the Future prototype on the new track surface and it has taken away a few of the bumps so lap times should be quicker and tyre degradation should be lower. It will be a completely different race but at the same time our focus has changed and therefore so to our outlook and expectations."
Will Davison – #6 Tradingpost FPR Ford:
"it is an important time of the year as the pressure starts to build but we have to keep our cool. We are heading back to the lowest point of our season last year though I am looking forward to it and expect a much better result. The ultimate turnaround would be a win and that would be very special. The track has been resurfaced and I believe the bumps are a lot better and with any new surface the grip will be higher. We learnt a few things at our test and I can't wait to give them a proper run in race conditions. I am fired up to get back to the top step and show that we are well and truly in the championship fight."
David Reynolds – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Ford:
"This was the team's worst event last year though that won't be the case this weekend, we are in for a great weekend. I think we have improved our performance with the tyre and we'll have a good race. I did really well at Ipswich last year and with the overall improvement of our cars in the last 12 months there is no reason I can't end up on the podium. We tried some new things at the test and while we won't know until we get there I am pretty open and positive about the whole thing."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal:
"We have been exceptionally busy in the break which included our first test day of the year. There were a number of things we learnt so it will be interesting to see how they transfer to our performance this weekend. Queensland Raceway is a very different track to when we were last there and our cars have evolved so much since then so we do not expect any downturn in performance. This is a race we have been looking forward to all year."
DUNLOP SERIES PREVIEW
FPR's Dunlop Series challenger Chaz Mostert wants to make up for his disappointing outing last time out in Townsville and plans to get his title chase back on track in front of his local fans at Queensland Raceway. Mostert slipped from the title lead after being taken out of race two in the last event but his first full day of testing recently means he has never been better prepared heading into a Dunlop Series event.
Chaz Mostert – #56 FPR Ford:
"Townsville wasn't the perfect weekend for the debut of our new chassis as despite putting it on pole the rest of the event didn't go to plan. Since then we've had a great test day, my first full day in the car, so I can't wait to see if what we learnt can find us some instant gains on the track. We definitely now have a better understanding so that should help our performance in front of my homes fans in Queensland."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal:
"It will be great for Chaz to race in front of his home fans as local support is always a boost for any driver. He had a tough time of it in Townsville and that was his first real character test so the fact he has rebounded so well and responded positively at the test day shows his development is progressing nicely. He impressed us massively at Ipswich last year with his drive in the wet so we know he'll be on the pace again."
EVENT NAME: Ipswich 300
DATE: 3-5 August
LOCATION: Ipswich, Queensland
EVENT NUMBER: 8 of 15
FORMAT: Friday - 4 x practice sessions (2 x 30min, 2 x 40min); Saturday - 1 x 20min practice, 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x 45-lap race; Sunday - 1 x 20min practice, 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x 65-lap race
CIRCUIT: Queensland Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Queensland Raceway looks the least technical of all circuits visited in the series, but is far more challenging than first appears. It rewards strong mid-corner speed and traction out of turns, despite only consisting of four right and two left corners with four straights - two short and two long, in between. The circuit is very spectator friendly, with full circuit viewing easy from virtually any location on the track. The track has been resurfaced ahead of this year's race
TRACK RECORD: 1m09.25s - John Bowe (1999), Qualifying
FPR BEST RESULT: 1s - Mark Winterbottom, 2008