Stone Brothers Racing has played host to a contingent from on-track rival Ford Performance Racing to begin talks on how the two teams will work together in next year's V8 Supercar Championship.
SBR team owners Ross and Jimmy Stone met with FPR team principal Tim Edwards, chief engineer Phil Keed and engine department manager Brad Collins at SBR's Yatala facility following Ford's announcement that the two teams will be the primary focus of its motorsport sponsorship programme next year.
“It has only been a short time since Ford's announcement, so our talks with FPR are in the very early stages, but last week's meeting was the first step,” Ross Stone acknowledged, “SBR and FPR are two very strong teams technically and, while we are not looking to create a four-car team, it is smart business that we work out mutually beneficial arrangements that will strengthen both teams.”
Edwards echoed Stone's comments.
“We'll obviously be working a lot closer together from now on,” he said, “Clearly, there are issues with competitive confidentiality and we won't be running four identical cars, but we'll definitely be looking to explore each others strengths.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for SBR and its record in V8 Supercars, and I'm sure we'll work very well together. There are a lot of practicalities to be sorted out but the meeting was a good starting point.”
SBR gave Edwards, Keed and Collins a tour of its facilities before sit-down talks on future collaborations, which lasted six hours.
Last week Ford Australia announced its plan to channel its 2009 direct motorsport sponsorship through two successful race teams, FPR and SBR. While the company will continue to provide race shells, crash panels and ongoing engineering support to other Ford teams, the move is designed to allow greater leveraging opportunities and strengthen fans' association of performance success and the Ford brand. Ford's involvement in V8 Supercars will remain the company's single largest sponsorship and category investment.