Wheels for a cham­pion

V8 Su­per­car teams are get­ting ready to race, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Dodge Journey R/ T Crd -

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.

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