NEWS
FPR CELEBRATES A DECADE OF RACING

07 | 02 | 2013 - FPR CELEBRATES A DECADE OF RACING

Ford Performance Racing has turned 10 and as the team prepares to enter four cars in the V8 Supercars Championship for the first time, it will also celebrate a decade of racing in Australia's premier motorsport category.

The official factory Ford team was created when British automotive engineering firm Prodrive took over Glenn Seton Racing ahead of the 2003 season.

Craig Lowndes joined Seton and David Besnard in a three-car line-up in the team's maiden year and while it was a steep learning curve in the early years, Lowndes laid the seeds for the team's current success by winning the second race it contested at Phillip Island and finishing second at Bathurst.

The team soon moved into the impressive facilities it still operates out of in Campbellfield north of Melbourne as it consolidated a two-car entry for the ensuing years.

It's on track success began to flourish by 2006 where Jason Bright paired with a rising star named Mark Winterbottom to claim the prestigious Sandown 500 crown.

Winterbottom then teamed up with Steven Richards and the team's consistency improved further.

Team Principal Tim Edwards has been with the team since 2005 and acknowledges that the hard lessons learnt in its early years have allowed the team to become the success it is.

"The FPR I see today is very different to what we had when I first joined and while we went through some hard times the fact that we did and have learnt from those years has made us what we are today," Edwards says.

"We have always had very good people but until recent years not the right combination to allow us to reach our full potential. People like Team Manager Chris O'Toole have been here since the very start and his experiences in the lean patches have kept all the young guys grounded which is what has helped develop the strong culture we have.

"Being the factory Ford team means there is constant pressure from fans as there is so much emotion and tradition tied to the Blue Oval. Every single person that works for FPR knows that and lives that every day and that is why we enjoy winning so much as we see how much our fans enjoy it too."

Late last year FPR was purchased from Prodrive by Australian motorsport identities Rod Nash and Rusty French ensuring Ford Australia's team would be 100 per cent Australian-owned.

Nash started working with FPR in 2010 when he paired his #55 entry with the team and says it was the passion and dedication of the staff and Ford's fans which formed part of his decision to take control of the team.

"There aren't too many teams in Australian sport that attract the passion and support of its fans like FPR," Nash says.

"I watched the team enter the sport a decade ago and obviously saw the highs and lows from a distance but what attracted me to FPR before I joined in 2010 was the underlying belief I had that all of the pieces were about to join together to form something pretty special.

"When the chance to buy the team came up it was a fairly easy decision as what Tim and his people have done to get the team to where it is was something I wanted to be a part of.

"We will all be very proud when we get to the Clipsal 500 and see the four cars we are running lined-up and ready to go.

"Not only will it be the culmination of a very busy 12 months with the Car of the Future program, the addition of a fourth car and the ownership change, but it will mark the start of our second decade and to me that is the most exciting part."

Prior to the start of the 2013 season FPR-run cars have recorded 35 race wins, 43 pole positions and 105 podiums.

MARK WINTERBOTTOM
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