Ford's V8 Supercar teams head to New Zealand for the third round in this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series with a simple goal of scoring the Blue Oval's first championship round win across the Tasman.

This will be the fourth time a full championship round has been held at Pukekohe Park Raceway south of Auckland, but the PlaceMarkers V8 International has been the domain of one man, Greg Murphy.

The NZ driver has won all three rounds held, but there's been a concerted effort by the Ford teams to topple Murphy's title of King of Pukekohe this year.

New Zealanders make up a large contingent of V8 Supercars, both behind the wheel as well as throughout the teams.

Leading the way is two-time World Touring Car Cup holder Paul Radisich and defending V8 Supercar team's champion Stone Brothers Racing, who will field 2003 V8 Supercar Champion Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall.

"It's just one round of 13, but to me winning in NZ would be very special," said Radisich. "My record at Pukekohe up until when we started to run the full championship was pretty good, since then it's not been so great.

"In saying that, we'll go into the event very well prepared and here's hoping Murphy doesn't have quite the same home coming this time around. Although the track is short, getting the right car set-up always seems very tricky. The big difference this year is that we're going in the cooler months and that will have most of the teams scratching their heads to get the cars just right."

Having grown up not far from the Pukekohe Park Raceway, Jimmy and Ross Stone are two of the Counties district favourite sons. The team chose to use the second of its six test days for the year going into the NZ round.

Two years ago Marcos Ambrose came close to winning the Pukekohe round, but a puncture ended his hopes with a handful of laps remaining.

"Our team sat down at the start of the year and identified the races that we really wanted on the CV. Adelaide was the first and we won that event, the next box we want to tick off is Pukekohe," said Ambrose.

"It's a very important event for Jimmy and Ross, as well as the other Kiwi boys we have in the team. For Ford and the Blue Oval fans in NZ it's a major opportunity to feel like champions. We only race in New Zealand once a year and the winner of the race can own those bragging rights until next season!

"Due to the tight shipping deadlines, and that fact that the next two rounds are long-haul trips to Darwin and Perth, the team decided to go testing before New Zealand. We had a very good day, and that's certainly a bonus for us going into Pukekohe.

"As far as our championship challenge, NZ is vital. We won the opening round and slipped back to second after the wet race at Sydney's Eastern Creek. We are keen to regain the lead in the championship, as well as hopefully build a buffer on our rivals."

Following his second placing at Eastern Creek, CAT Ford Performance Racing's Craig Lowndes is also keen to continue his climb up the championship ladder.

"New Zealand is three very tough races totalling 400km of racing," said Lowndes. "We have to make compulsory tyre stops in each race, and with only 12 new tyres for the weekend, making sure you have good rubber to finish the event is always a challenge.

"The big factor will be the weather. Not just the temperature but also the greater likelihood of rain. In this sport you have to consider everything and that's what makes it a great challenge."