Prodrive Racing Australia
|Team Principal||Rusty French
|Team Manager||Tim Edwards|
|Race Drivers||5 Mark Winterbottom
6 Chaz Mostert
55 David Reynolds
111 Andre Heimgartner
|Chassis||Ford FG X Falcon|
|2014 position||2nd (5,244 points)|
Prodrive Racing Australia (formerly known as Ford Performance Racing) is an Australian motor racing team which contests the Australian International V8 Supercars Championship. As of 2015 the team campaigns two Ford FG X Falcons, driven by Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert, and prepares two customer FG X Falcons, driven by Andre Heimgartner and David Reynolds.
In early 2003 Prodrive purchased Glenn Seton Racing, and renamed it Ford Performance Racing as part of a marketing push to link the Prodrive-owned Ford Performance Vehicles road cars to the popular V8 Supercars. Along with this renaming came a huge expansion programme – the team expanded from one car driven by Glenn Seton to three; Seton, Craig Lowndes and David Besnard. The team moved into a new headquarters adjacent to the FPV factory in Campbellfield, Melbourne, and the crew expanded as well. The third car was entered using Rod Nash Racing's Racing Entitlement Contract (REC). While other teams such had received major Ford support in the years since, it became the first official Ford factory team since the Ford Works Team of 1962 to 1973.
The team's early years were somewhat disappointing, given the fact the team was one of the best funded in V8 Supercars. Lowndes had his moments in 2003, including a round win at Phillip Island, and a second-place finish at Bathurst driving with Seton. Lowndes finished the year 5th in the championship, with Seton and Besnard well down the order. In 2004 the team downsized to two cars. Lowndes and Seton both had disappointing years, plagued by engine dramas, a lack of test days, and a lack of comparable data (their cars were built to different specifications). While the pair did start to find some pace at the end of the year (they finished second at Bathurst again), they both decided to move at the end of the year – Lowndes to Triple Eight Race Engineering and Seton to Dick Johnson Racing.
Jason Bright and Greg Ritter joined for the 2005 season. Bright had a consistent year, and finished inside the top 10, while Ritter was disappointing, David Brabham replaced him for the final rounds. In 2006 Mark Winterbottom joined the team. Bright scored multiple front-row starts, including three pole positions. He won the inaugural round in Bahrain, the Desert 400, and came 6th in the championship. Winterbottom enjoyed a very consistent run to finish third in the championship. The pair won the Sandown 500. FPR came second in the team's championship behind the HSV Dealer Team.
Bright left FPR at the end of the 2006 season to drive for his own Britek Motorsport outfit, with Steven Richards recruited to replace him. The team continued to take the challenge to the front running teams. The most disappointing moment in 2007 was when Winterbottom left the circuit late in the race while leading at Bathurst. In 2008 Winterbottom challenged for the championship however Jamie Whincup managed to finish the championship ahead of Winterbottom while Richards finished 8th.
In 2009 the new FG Falcon was debuted. While Triple Eight already had the speed FPR struggled with only one win from Mark Winterbottom during the season with Steven Richards finishing a best of 3rd. The team also struggled at Bathurst again with the no. 6 car driven by Winterbottom and Richards caught fire on lap 50 while the second car driven by Dean Canto and Luke Youlden crashed late in the race. Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards finished 5th and 13th in the championship.
In 2010 Winterbottom finished 3rd and Richards 15th. For 2011 Richards was replaced by Will Davison, however was retained as an endurance co-driver for Winterbottom. Winterbottom finished 3rd and Davison 7th in the championship. In 2012 FPR were strong challengers for the championship, Winterbottom finishing 3rd with Davison finishing 4th.
In January 2013 the team was sold by Prodrive to Rusty French and Rod Nash. In the 2013 season Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards won the Bathurst 1000. Davison finished the season in third, Winterbottom fourth. Chaz Mostert joined the team in 2014 replacing Will Davison. FPR won the 2014 Bathurst 1000 with Mostert partnered by Paul Morris.
In 2015, Ford Performance Racing was renamed as Prodrive Racing Australia, as a result of Ford's decision to progressively withdraw its V8 Supercars support by 2016. The team introduced the Ford FG X Falcon, the first new Falcon since 2009. After a slow start, the team achieved considerable success in the next section of the season, with eleven out of fifteen race wins between the third event (the Perth Super Sprint) and the eighth event (the Sydney Motorsport Park Super Sprint). Winterbottom, co-driving with Steve Owen, then went on to win the 2015 Wilson Security Sandown 500, leading home a team one-two with Mostert and Cameron Waters in second. It was the team's first win at the event since 2006.
Both Winterbottom and Mostert are signed to drive for the team until 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Rod Nash Racing (2010–onwards)
Since 2010, the team has prepared a customer car for Rod Nash Racing. Paul Dumbrell drove in 2010 and 11 before David Reynolds took over in 2012. Reynolds has achieved the most success in a FPR/PRA customer car, with notable results being a race win at the 2013 Armor All Gold Coast 600 and second place at the 2012 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, both times driving with Dean Canto.
Charlie Schwerkolt Racing (2013–14)
In 2013, PRA took on a second customer car for Charlie Schwerkolt Racing. The Schwerkolt entry was driven by Alex Davison in 2013, with Jack Perkins replacing Davison for 2014. Schwerkolt and his team split with Prodrive prior to the 2015 Season, moving to Walkinshaw Racing for 2015.
Super Black Racing (2015–onwards)
Prodrive Racing Australia has run a number of customer cars for other franchise holders, the first in 2007 where the #021 Team Kiwi Racing BF Falcon driven by Paul Radisich was prepared for the first few rounds of the season. In 2008, FPR prepared the #777 Ford Rising Stars Racing BF Falcon of Michael Patrizi. For the 2015 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, the team will run a third customer car, a wildcard entry for Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro known as the Harvey Norman Super Girls.
The team currently runs an older generation FG Falcon in the development series for Cameron Waters. It has also prepared entries for the Development Series. In 2010 a BF Falcon was prepared for James Moffat and in 2012 for Chaz Mostert. The team has a relationship with Development Series frontrunner MW Motorsport, who race former FPR FG Falcons.
Media related to Ford Performance Racing at Wikimedia Commons
|Ford Australia automobile timeline, 1980s–present|
|Full-size||Falcon / Fairmont||Falcon / Fairmont||Falcon / Fairmont||Falcon / G Series|
|Fairlane / LTD||Fairlane / LTD||Fairlane / LTD|
|Falcon Ute||Falcon Ute||Falcon Ute|