Bathurst: Ford Performance Racing preview

Bathurst: Ford Performance Racing preview
Oct 5, 2005, 9:17 PM

THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR FPR AT BATHURST '05 October 3, 2005 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to Bathurst's Mount Panorama, to compete in the Super Cheap Auto 1000, the 45th running of the Bathurst 1000 kilometre classic. Bathurst has become an ...


October 3, 2005 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to Bathurst's Mount Panorama, to compete in the Super Cheap Auto 1000, the 45th running of the Bathurst 1000 kilometre classic.

Bathurst has become an extremely significant race for the Prodrive team, which has gained consecutive runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2004. While this is the most difficult and demanding race of the season, it has also been FPR's most successful of its relatively short tenure in V8 Supercar racing.

The blue oval team heads to the most famous Mountain in Australian motor racing with one goal - to take that elusive next step up on the podium, breaking Ford's seven year Bathurst drought.

CAT FPR Falcon drivers and past Bathurst Champions Jason Bright and David Brabham will once again team up in the newest of the two FPR Falcons, with another detailed test day completed in the lead up to the great race. Brabham returns to Australia after competing with Prodrive Aston Martin Racing in the Petit Le Mans 1000 mile World Sportscar race held at Road Atlanta (USA) on October 2.

Ford Credit FPV Falcon drivers Greg Ritter and Cameron McLean take to the Mount Panorama circuit for the 8th time of their careers next week, with both drivers keen to finish higher than their shared best result of 4th, gained when the two blue oval drivers last raced together at Bathurst in a Ford in 2001.(Ritter also finished 4th with Marcos Ambrose last year).

#6 Jason Bright - "This is the one and only race that any driver would want to win as opposed to any other. No other victory brings as much prestige and recognition and many drivers have competed in it for years without winning. I am fortunate to have won at the Mountain once, but I can assure you that being a previous winner doesn't make it any easier! This race places the emphasis on staying out of trouble to ensure that we have a very strong car by the final stages of the race. FPR has an impressive track record at Bathurst, and we hope to make this year the team's best yet."

#6 David Brabham - "I have learned a lot about Bathurst during my past races at the Mountain and my aim is to win Bathurst in a V8 Supercar, as I have won it in a two-litre BMW in 1997 - but this is not enough. To win in a V8 Supercar, in this ultra-competitive series, would be every bit as good as winning Le Mans."

#5 Greg Ritter - "This is the biggest race of the year and the best of them all. I always strived to race at Bathurst from the very start of my career and I am fortunate to have have gained my best results, aside from Sandown last year, at Mount Panorama - so it is a very special place for me. The circuit demands respect and returns that respect with strong results. There is no-where else like it, it can bring you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows."

#5 Cameron McLean - "Bathurst is one of those races that you don't fully understand the significance of unless you have grown up with it and have been fortunate enough to have competed in it. It is so hard to get a good result there, so when you get a number of good finishes it is something that you relish as a driver. I have come close to the podium but have not stood on it yet - this year I have a good chance of doing that with FPR."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "Following our positive test day last week in preparation for the challenge ahead at Bathurst, our drivers and the team head to Mount Panorama feeling very optimistic about gaining strong results. Jason Bright has enjoyed 100 per cent reliability this year which is encouraging heading towards this grueling race."

FPR takes to the track on Thursday (October 6) for practice, Friday includes Practice and Qualifying. Saturday features a further Practice session and the Top Ten Shootout for the great race's starting positions. Sunday's 161-lap race starts at 10am.


The #6 CAT FPR Falcon is one of just two cars in the 2005 Great Race to be piloted by two former Bathurst winners. The other successful duo is Rick Kelly/Garth Tander.

Mount Panorama was the scene of Jason Bright's first V8 Supercar race win, the 1998 FAI 1000 Classic. Bright's biggest career victory came during his first full season of V8 Supercar racing and was the last time Mount Panorama was tamed by a Ford.

Jason Bright has stood on every step of the Bathurst 1000 podium - 1998 (first), 2000(second) and 2002 (third). He was also the winner of the inaugural Bathurst 24 Hour race.

Ford Performance Racing has a formidable record in single-race rounds. The team has finished second or better on six occasions in the longer-distance format events since its formation in 2003.

David Brabham won the 1997 AMP Bathurst 1000 aboard a BMW with brother Geoff. The Brabhams crossed the line second, behind Paul Morris and Craig Baird, but the latter pair was disqualified as Baird exceeded the maximum driving time limit.

Greg Ritter is a seasoned Bathurst veteran and will make his eighth Bathurst 1000 start this year. Ritter has gained four top ten results from his seven appearances, twice finishing fourth, including with Ford Champion driver Marcos Ambrose last year. The 32-year-old's other fourth placing came with his 2005 Ford Credit FPV Falcon partner Cameron McLean, when the pair drove for Dick Johnson Racing in 2001.

Cameron McLean's Bathurst V8 Supercar record is virtually identical to his partner Ritter's - seven campaigns, four top ten results and twice finishing fourth. McLean however, also raced in the two Super Touring Bathurst 1000s, posting a fourth in 1998 (in a BMW) and a fifth the previous year, in a Volvo.

Bright, paired this year with Aussie international David Brabham, is no stranger to partnering globe-trotting race drivers at Bathurst. His past co-drivers include Alan Jones (1980 F1 World Champion), American Scott Pruett (Indycar race winner), Kiwi Paul Radisich (dual Touring Car World Cup winner), Czech Tomas Mezera (British Formula Ford competitor) and Kiwi Craig Baird (British Touring Car Championship competitor).

Like Bright, Brabham has usually been paired with other well-traveled internationals for the 1000 - Swede Anders Oloffson, Brazilian Max Wilson, Wayne Gardner (1987 500cc Motorcycle World Champion) and his Le Mans 24 Hour winning brother Geoff.

FPR's endurance race squad of '30-something' drivers have 30-something Bathurst starts between them. In fact, the total figure is exactly 30.


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