V8 Supercar Champions Stone Brothers Racing is set to expand its engine supply business by establishing an alliance with the Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering operation for four years from 2005.

Earlier this year SBR signed a two-year deal to supply engines to Larkham Motor Sport and the result has seen LMS's two-car Orrcon Racing team take the next leap in performance and results.

The new deal means that Craig Lowndes will make his debut in a Betta Electrical Falcon with SBR-supplied power plants in next year's 13-round V8 Supercar Championship Series.

The program is designed to reduce the escalating expense of V8 Supercar racing caused through the seriously increasing costs associated with engine and car development, according to SBR co-owner, Ross Stone.

"A lot of thought has to be put into arrangements like this, but I think an expansion of our engine development business with Triple Eight makes sense," he said. "The sport is becoming more and more expensive and partnerships like this are going to be crucial to the future success of everyone involved.

"This deal has come with the encouragement of Ford and will benefit, Triple Eight, SBR and Larkham Motor Sport's Orrcon Racing."

Triple Eight Race engineering's director/manager, Roland Dane, believes the new arrangement will be a win-win for everyone involved.

"There is no doubt that SBR has been the benchmark in this series for the past couple of years and if we were ever going to come to an arrangement like this, then SBR were the obvious choice as partners," he said. "Like us, SBR is in the business of motor racing to win. Ross and Jimmy Stone have a tremendous reputation as fair and ethical competitors and that is also an obvious consideration when structuring such an arrangement.

"The sport of V8 Supercar racing is not getting any cheaper and it makes no sense for teams to be duplicating very expensive development programs across a whole range of areas. We have been working with SBR and Ford for sometime and I am glad we have come to, what I am sure will be win-win situation for everyone involved."

The new arrangement is subject to approval by TEGA (TouringCar Entrants Group Australia) through the normal process. Upon approval Team Betta Electrical will compete with SBR-prepared engines for the first time in the V8 Supercar support program at the Foster's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 4-6 March 2005.