Ford Performance Racing welcomes the start of the V8 Supercar enduro season by entering no fewer than three car and six drivers for this weekend's Sandown 500.

After an four-year absence as a 500-kilometre race, Sandown welcomes the Supercar circus back to Melbourne the first of the season's two major endurance races, as the Betta Electrical 500 marks the build-up race to the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mount Panorama in October.

Only set up at the start of the season, this will be FPR's first race at Sandown, but the team will be competing at its 'home' race armed with three podium finishes so far this year. This three-car Blue Oval team is well on track to become one of the most successful V8 Supercar debut teams in the history of the category, and success at Sandown and/or Bathurst would be the icing on the cake.

Topping the team's endurance pairing list - and forming a combination that has generated an unprecedented response from Ford fans nationwide - are Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton.

The multiple champions will be making their first endurance racing appearance together in the CAT FPR Falcon at Sandown this Sunday, but both can boast previous success at the Melbourne venue. Lowndes, holder of the current Sandown V8 Supercar race lap and qualifying records, won the Sandown 500 in 1996 and 1998, while Seton tasted the victory champagne at Sandown in 1990 and 1997.

"I really enjoy the Sandown circuit layout and I couldn't be happier with the race returning to its original format as a 500 kilometre enduro," Lowndes said, "I am looking forward to combining car set-up ideas with Glenn to make sure everything is right heading into Bathurst, as this event is the perfect lead up to our biggest race of the year.

"The CAT FPR Falcon is constantly improving, as is our understanding of it, and I think we displayed well at Oran Park. Our first major endurance race should be a very exciting experience for FPR and it will be great to race in my hometown again."

"I'm looking forward to Sandown and getting back to the true tradition of this race," Seton echoed, "I believe that we are both in a great position to win this race. We both want to win at Sandown and Bathurst more than anything. Sandown has been a happy hunting ground for both of us in the past, so while making sure we have everything right for Bathurst, we will be racing to win this weekend."

Reigning 500km V8 Supercar endurance champion David Besnard teams up with fast and experienced Tasmanian V8 Supercar driver Owen Kelly this weekend, the two young drivers planning to be strong contenders in the Ford Credit FPR Falcon. Besnard was one of the fastest Ford drivers at the Sandown round last year, qualifying third and racing to third and fourth place finishes.

"Sandown is a fantastic track, a real driver's track and I enjoyed a heap of speed there last year," Besnard, the third regular member of the FPR line-up revealed, "But I've also had some bad luck there. However, having tested the new car for the first time, and with the progress we have made since, I am confident that Owen and I will put on a good show for our fans. It will be a very competitive race this year and the team is in great form leading up to it."

Two new drivers make their debut with FPR this weekend, with fast chargers Adam Macrow and Darren Hossack given the opportunity to campaign the team's FPV Falcon. The two talented Victorians will be responsible for the set-up of their own car rather than having to compete within a preferred car set-up for a team's regular driver, and this should make this experience even more challenging and rewarding.

"I am eager to get back into the car to get properly race acquainted with it," Macrow admitted, "I know the circuit very well and, with some early practice in setting up the car, my aim is to make the top ten - we know that the team is definitely capable of it. It will be a case of preparing ourselves as best we can on and off the track with our engineers to set-up a comfortable race car for the long haul ahead."

Hossack was equally upbeat about the chance to race a thoroughbred V8 Supercar, and is determined to gain as much experience in the race before heading off to the year's main event.

"I am feeling confident heading into Sandown - I have a good team-mate in Adam and I am as fit as I have ever been," he enthused, "We will we work on being consistent throughout the race and to stay out of trouble, as it will be a very competitive race due to the fact that there are many drivers who need to gain points from this event. We will aim to gain a strong result, while also using this race to get used to the team and car ahead of Bathurst."

 

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