Defending V8 Supercar drivers' and teams' champion TeamVodafone pulled the covers off their all-new 2009 racer at the Museum of Sydney and promised no let-up in the search for domination.
New series champion Jamie Whincup and team-mate Craig Lowndes unveiled a sleek new livery for its Ford Falcons, with subtle evolutions made to the team's 2008 design but retaining the now familiar fluorescent red and chrome base. The scheme now extends over an updated body which sits flatter on the road, but keeps its previous aggressive looks.
The livery also incorporates two new major partners - Norton from Symantec and Hog's Breath Café - details of which are expected to be announced at a separate press conference in Melbourne, due to tie in with the unveiling of a new backer for the Sandown round in Adelaide tomorrow [4 March]. The team retains the support of major partners Nokia, Toshiba, Dexion and Komatsu for 2009.
Team principal and Triple Eight co-owner Roland Dane said the team had set an incredibly high benchmark with their 2008 success, but believed it could be bettered this season.
“We were dominant last season, but there is still room for improvement, we are constantly striving to be the best and still have a number of events to conquer,” he pointed out, “The off-season has been our busiest yet. The new workshop has been a hive of activity, with the crew not only building and preparing our own new cars, but also building new cars for Dick Johnson Racing, Paul Cruickshank Racing and Team IntaRacing. There's plenty of changes to tackle but, if anyone can adjust to what is required, it is us.”
Admiring the addition of Hog's Breath Café mascot 'Hogster' to the car's grille, Whincup insisted that he was ready to defend the #1 plate which will adorn his mount this season.
“I've enjoyed my break, but am absolutely itching to get back into racing,” he said, “The crew has been working very hard over the break to build and prepare completely new cars for Craig and myself and the attention to detail of the finished product is amazing. Fans will recognise a similar livery to 2008 which carries over very well onto the new spec cars that have a much more aggressive stance on the road.”
Whincup added that a raft of new rule changes would keep competitors on their toes in 2009.
“There have been numerous changes, some minor and some major," he noted, "The qualifying changes, combined with a new tyre compound, are sure to shake things up. The team that best manages these changes will really shine – I believe TeamVodafone is capable of recording back-to-back championships, with our camp enjoying very few personnel changes over the break.”
Team-mate Lowndes, who will retain the familiar #888 that ties in with the team's name, said he had been personally inspired by the efforts of the crew to prepare his new-spec car for the new season.
“The guys have been working long hours to make these cars as good as possible, it really is amazing to see what they have achieved in such a short time,” the former champion said, “I'm looking forward to a new season of challenges - this is the first time we've seen such a dramatic overhaul of the championship. Add two new tracks into the mix and you have the makings of an enthralling series, I can't wait to get started on the streets of Adelaide in a few weeks' time.”
The all-new TeamVodafone Falcons will be unveiled to the public in race livery for the first time in Melbourne on Wednesday [4 March], when Dane, Whincup and Lowndes join V8 CEO Cameron Levick, Symantec Australia spokesman Matthew Drake and former Australian touring car ace Allan Moffat in the pit-lane at the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit.