Wheels for a champion
V8 Supercar teams are getting ready to race, writes PAUL GOVER
MARK Winterbottom has a shiny new toy as he looks to go one better in the 2009 V8 Supercar championship.
The wraps come off his all-new FG Falcon this morning, and Frosty is already working on what he needs to improve from runnerup to champion in this year’s series.
‘‘Every year is a different challenge. Every year you have to do the best you can,’’ he says.
‘‘Last year we came close, and as a driver or sportsman you want to improve. There are definitely areas we need to improve, and if we do, we’ll be around the money.
‘‘The goal for the year is to minimise mistakes, and that should put us up there.’’
Winterbottom believes his new Orrcon-backed FG, which was displayed as it will be raced by Steven Richards, is the best thing yet from Ford Performance Racing. But he is not predicting a walkover.
‘‘You instantly think a new car should be quicker,’’ he says. ‘‘But the BF was already a pretty dominant car over the VE. So to think it will be a lot quicker — well, it won’t happen. You have to up the success rate, and that means being quick at all tracks, not being quick at one track then struggling at the next. We need to improve the consistency and minimise the mistakes.’’
Winterbottom says he has done all he can to boost his own performance, even using a renovation project in Melbourne to improve his fitness.
‘‘I’ve been up on the roof, ripping things out. And I run to the house, so it all helps.
‘‘Everyone can improve. I’m pretty hard on myself. I look at some rounds last year and recognise where we made mistakes. That’s where I can focus, so that’s what I’ve been working on.’’
He is expecting a similar step up from the FPR crew, one of only two factory-backed teams to survive a Ford cull at the end of last year.
‘‘The team is pretty tough on themselves. They want to improve.’’
Winterbottom will not drive his new FG until the start of March but has been keeping close tabs on development.
‘‘I’ve been to sit in it and have a look around, and I’m happier,’’ he says.
‘‘Also, the guys are happy because it is a lot easier to work on. If everyone is happy at the workshop, and they are not working 24-hour days, the team functions a lot better.’’
Ford Performance Racing’s new FG Falcon.