The cage and floor are assembled together in a master jig which provides dimensional points for the body to be built. This method gives structural integrity without relying on exterior panels for safety which allows for quicker and more cost effective crash repairs.
One significant safety-related improvement involved moving the driver seat as far inboard as possible, creating a noticeable gap between the seat and driver door. This adjustment required using part of the transmission tunnel for the driver's seat and seat belt mounting points, and required the steering column and pedal box to be moved further inboard to accommodate the new driver position.
The FG01 also features a strengthened roll cage at the driver's door area to minimise any side-impact intrusion which, combined with the shift in seat position, provides an optimum level of driver safety.
"Ford teams agreed that, as a priority, this V8 Supercar had to be less expensive to build as a new shell, and less expensive plus quicker to repair in the event of an accident," Price added, "Subsequently, FG01 relies less on welded panels for strength than the BF, allowing for swifter removal and replacement of damaged panels.
"We achieved this through a comprehensive design strategy where the floor and cage were built up as an assembly and the exterior panels fixed to the car rather than welded. Additionally, sacrificial structures have been incorporated which can be easily replaced after an accident.
"The overall functionality of our new racecar combined with its aggressive look will ensure the Ford teams are able to continue building competitive, race winning Ford V8 Supercars. We're looking forward to completing the homologation and getting on with building the number of race cars required for next season. The hard work has just begun, but we have given ourselves plenty of time to build the Ford V8 Supercars we need using our new design/build strategy."
The FG01 prototype will reside in pit-lane for the duration of the Sandown round this weekend, but will launch into a number of preview laps on the 3.1km circuit. Craig Lowndes is set to drive the new Falcon with sometime Ford driver - and Channel Seven
pit reporter - Grant Denyer riding as passenger.