17 | 05 | 2014 - FROSTY CHOOSES BEST FOR BATHURST DEFENCE
Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom will defend his Bathurst 1000 title with the man he describes as "the best co-driver in the business" when he pairs with Steve Owen for this season's trio of long-distance events.
Winterbottom, currently leading the V8 Supercars Championship by more-than 100 points, is joined by Owen who last year drove with the team in car #6.
That experience, combined with the team's recent form, makes the pairing one of the strongest combinations.
"Steve is highly-rated, highly-credentialed and is the only driver the team and I wanted to pair with to defend our Bathurst title," Winterbottom said.
"He has experience of the team from last year when he also worked with my engineer, Grant McPherson, so the only thing we have to do is get us both comfortable in the car and away we go.
"He will bring fresh ideas and has a lot of experience - in my opinion, Steve is the best co-driver in the business. He is the right person to help us as we try and go back-to-back at Bathurst."
Owen is excited by the prospect of helping Winterbottom and the team vie for a Bathurst repeat and is motivated to not only help take victory at Mount Panorama but also in the Enduro Cup.
"I enjoyed working with FPR last year and know Mark, Grant and the rest of the engineers and mechanics from that experience so that means we can just get on with the job with no fuss," Owen said.
"The team is obviously on form, they've won at every track on the calendar and now they've experienced a Bathurst victory so they know what it takes to get the job done.
"Mark and I are of a similar age and we're both pretty relaxed guys so I am looking forward to the year ahead. There is no reason we can't challenge for the overall Enduro Cup and of course, another win at Bathurst."
FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards is pleased with the team?s overall co-driver line-up.
"Steve completes our Enduro Cup line-up and while his confirmation with Mark is a mere formality due to his two-year deal, it finalises what I believe is a formidable four-car assault," Edwards said.
"We've seen Mark and Dave (Reynolds), along with Dean Canto, excel when it comes enduro time. Jack has his seat off the back of impressive co-driver performances and Chaz is starting to grow into life as a factory driver so we have high expectations.
FPR's eight-driver line-up will hit the track as a group for the first time at the team's next test day set to be held before the next event of the championship in Darwin.