Orrcon Steel Racing Pitstop – December 13, 2011

Orrcon Steel Racing Pitstop – December 13, 2011

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

FPR tested a number of drivers during the end of year test at Winton

FPR tested a number of drivers during the end of year test at Winton

The final day of on-track work for the Orrcon Steel-backed Ford Performance Racing team yielded solid results at Winton yesterday.

With Mark Winterbottom taking a well-earned break post the final event of the year, most of the running was conducted by Will Davison in the #6 Tradingpost FPR Falcon, whilst the reins of the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon were taken by enduro partner, Steve Richards – along with John McIntyre – who will partner Davison next year (see story below).

Davison concentrated on soft tyre running and the team tested a number of development compeonents – all of which seemed to have a positive effect.

“Each of the things we tried on the car appeared to be an improvement,” Davison said. “The car was fast and enjoyable to drive – the team has made solid steps forward and – concentrating on soft tyre running – you could really feel the difference.”

Will Davison’s cousin, James Davison had his first taste of V8 Supercars yesterday. He has been racing in America in the Indy Lights Championship and tested an IndyCar recently with Andretti Autosport. He is looking towards a career in the IZOD IndyCar Series – should that not materialise, he is considering a switch to the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Development Series.

The other driver to step into a factory Falcon was Fujitsu Series regular, Tim Blanchard.

Team Principal, Tim Edwards walked away happy with the work conducted at Winton and says the team is now ready for a well-earned break.

“It was a good opportunity to give some young guys a go and especially Chaz and Tim – who’ve never used the V8 Supercars soft Dunlop,” said Edwards. “They were particularly impressed by the additional grip it afforded them.

“The development parts we were able to run with the more experienced drivers at the helm and Will did plenty of laps.

“Each one of the young guys we gave a run to all assisted us in their own way given their varying levels of experience and it was great to have John join the team for the first time.

“The team will strip the cars back at base and then have a few weeks off over Christmas and the New Year.”

FPR have swooped and signed John McIntyre to Will Davison's #6 for the 2012 enduros

FPR have swooped and signed John McIntyre to Will Davison's #6 for the 2012 enduros

In one of the first major co-driver announcements for the 2012 V8 Supercars endurance season, New Zealander, John McIntyre has been announced as Will Davison’s team-mate in the Orrcon Steel backed #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon.

The New Zealander – who switches Ford camps from Stone Brothers – is a triple and reigning New Zealand V8 Touring Cars Champion and is very highly rated.

McIntyre became acquainted with his new blue and orange car at Winton Motor Raceway yesterday in FPR’s final test of the year.

He also drove the Orrcon Steel #5 and completed laps in FPR’s Development Series TEAM NAVY machine.

Since Mark Winterbottom’s outstanding victory on the streets of Sydney, the Orrcon Steel-backed FPR team haven’t been idle.

Immediately after Sydney, the cars were stripped and then prepared for the test that took place yesterday at Winton.

Operating four cars in Sydney (the #5 and #6 Orrcon Steel-backed FPR Falcons, The Bottle-O RNR #55 Falcon and the TEAM NAVY/Factory Enterprises Development Series FPR Falcon) ensured that it was all hands on deck.

In a V8 Supercars silly season that seems to have numerous shots still to fire – FPR is one of those at the centre of 2012 discussions.

It has emerged there is potential that FPR’s Development Series program may ramp up to a main series program as early as the new season, which officially begins in February with the open Sandown test. There are a number of Racing Entitlements Contracts (the franchises needed to play in the V8 Supercars Championship Series) that could be up for grabs.

If this doesn’t happen, FPR is likely to continue with it’s three car program and run a fourth car in the Development Series.

Although most of the country is winding down for Christmas – in V8 Supercar land, it seems like it’s going to be a long, hot summer for many!

The #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Team almost had a secret visitor to the cockpit yesterday in Australia’s NASCAR Sprint Cup star, Marcos Ambrose.

Ambrose – enjoying his American winter break in Australia – had been offered the chance to jump aboard Frosty’s machine in a top secret test. It would have been the first time the Sprint Cup winner would have been in a V8 Supercar since deciding on the American route some years ago.

As late as Friday last week, negotiations were taking place with Ambrose to be part of the team’s final test day, instead he elected to remain in Hobart with his wife and children and enjoy the down time in Australia.