Ford Performance Racing will aim to make the most of a strong package at Sandown this weekend as the V8 Supercar Championship heads to the Victoria circuit for the fifth round of the year.
The first few venues this season have not played to FPR's strengths, but the team is still leading the team championship with drivers Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards in third and fifth respectively.
Sandown should see the turn of the tide, however, as the circuit's long straights play right to the strength of the FPR engine package – one of the strongest on the grid.
“We're obviously quite optimistic about this weekend because we've had great results at Sandown for the last two years,” team principal Tim Edwards said. “In terms of how a car reacts at different circuits, we always fine tune to suit each track, just by adjusting the suspension settings. We've got our databases from previous years and know what works well and what doesn't, which is something we struggled with in the early days because we'd turn up blind.
“We definitely had a plan in 2005 that we were building for the future and we've well and truly arrived at that point now. It's time to put up or shut up!”
Winterbottom heads into the weekend on the back of a storming performance in Perth, where he took a hat-trick of wins, and will hope to shine once again at the scene of the former endurance event.
“After the great result we had a Perth, I'm trying not to get ahead of myself!” he said. “I want to let the results speak for themselves so I'm optimistic because we should go well at Sandown.
“This is my first ever sprint race there, which puts the emphasis on pit stops. The pit entry at Sandown is really difficult; it's very tight and the potential to hit the wall on the way in is quite high. In enduro races you just potter in but in sprint rounds you've got to get in quick so the pressure will be on. The start is also more important in a sprint round because leading is vital so you've got to be really aggressive.”