Next weekend the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship moves up a gear with the penultimate event for the season at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint at the Island’s famous Grand Prix circuit.
Phillip Island has been the scene of some great racing and even a few championship deciders so in this week’s instalment of Saturday Sleuthing we trip back to the 2005 grand final and take a closer look at Russell Ingall’s championship-winning Stone Brothers Racing Falcon.
The recently ‘re-retired’ Ingall finally claimed the title he’d long been chasing 10 years ago this year with the milestone coming in the third year of his switch to steering a Ford for SBR.
After racing one BA Falcon in Caltex Havoline colours in 2003 and 2004, SBR built Ingall a brand new car for the 2005 season with the chassis designation SBR BA03.
Ingall debuted the new chassis as the #9 Caltex Havoline Ford at the non-championship races in ‘05 held at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
While reigning champion and SBR teammate Marcos Ambrose had the momentum coming into the season, Ingall took his opportunities across the year to build points.
Its often been said that consistency wins championships and this was certainly true of Ingall’s 2005 campaign.
The Caltex Ford only claimed one round victory for the year at Oran Park in August but scored good points pretty much everywhere else.
A pit-lane penalty for Ambrose in Race 1 at Oran Park cost the other side of the SBR garage dearly, Ingall took advantage to claim second in that race and pass Ambrose in Race 2 to take the round overall.
For the enduros Ingall was joined by Luke Youlden, though a pit lane penalty for an altercation with Steve Ellery didn’t help their cause at the Sandown 500 in Melbourne and the duo finished the race in seventh position.
At the Mountain Ingall and Youlden finished fifth outright despite copping some damage in the melee that unfolded after teammate Ambrose and Greg Murphy came together on the run up towards the Cutting.
Ambrose lost the championship lead to Ingall at Bathurst after ‘Balaclava-gate’ and ‘The Enforcer’ stayed out of trouble in all three races of the final championship round at Phillip Island to secure his first and only V8 Supercars title.
History recorded the enduring image of the green Ford doing smoky celebration burnouts on Phillip Island’s front straight - a jubilant Ingall hanging out of the car enjoying the moment!
Ingall continued to race this car into the 2006 championship season with the only major change being the highly prized #1 of the champion being carried on the doors.
But the consistency of 2005 wasn’t there in season 2006; one of the few highlights of Ingall’s year was a third place in New Zealand and he finished eighth in the final championship points.
Again teamed with Luke Youlden for the enduros, the duo was narrowly beaten for a third place podium finish at Bathurst by new teammate James Courtney and Glenn Seton in the sister SBR Ford.
Ingall’s title-winning Falcon was updated to BF specification for the 2007 season, which meant a different shaped front spoiler and modified sideskirts and it reverted to running as car #9 in Caltex Vortex livery.
In turned out to be Ingall’s last season with SBR and his best result of the year came on the Gold Coast where a fourth and two third-placed finishes netted the Caltex Falcon second overall for the round.
While Ingall departed the team for 2008, his old Falcon most certainly stayed put at SBR’s workshop.
It had been mooted to become Jonathon Webb’s Fujitsu Series car, but the team elected instead to keep him in the car Ambrose had used to win the 2003 and 2004 championships.
BA03 became the team’s spare chassis for the season but was soon pressed into service after Courtney had a major accident at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide after coming together with Craig Lowndes.
As a result Courtney raced BA03 as the #4 JELD-WEN Falcon in both the Eastern Creek and Hamilton rounds of the 2008 championship, scoring a podium finish at the latter in the city’s first appearance on the V8 Supercar calendar.
This was the last time the car appeared in the V8 Supercars Championship, though Ross and Jim Stone had by this stage already taken the decision to retain both the Ingall and Ambrose championship-winning Falcons.
But that didn’t mean BA03’s racing days were over just yet!
In 2011 it moved on to Matt Stone Racing, Jim’s son, competing in the Fujitsu Series with Irishman Robert Cregan behind the wheel.
A year later it remained in the DVS with Kiwi Daniel Jilesen at the helm, however it was damaged in a start line accident in Race 1 of the season in Adelaide.
The Kiwi drove the car for the majority of the 2012 Dunlop Series and that’s where its racing life ended.
Today the car is still owned by the Stone brothers.
The V8 Sleuth recently caught up with Jim Stone who shared his and brother Ross’s plans for the car.
“We still own both of the championship-winning cars,” he says.
“They were both really good cars so we’re going to restore them.
“Marcos’s car has just been painted and we’ll finish it off next year. Once that’s done we’ll get into Russell’s car and return that to the way it looked back in 2005.
“2005 was a great year for the team. We got Russell through the Ford Motor Company and he was a very good operator.
“We had retired that car but had to race it a couple of times in 2008 because Courtney had crashed everything we had!”
Saturday Sleuthing will take a break next weekend for the running of the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint but will return the following week with a car with special connection to the Coates Hire Sydney 500.
If there’s a car you’d like to see featured in an upcoming story you can get in touch with the V8 Sleuth via any of the following methods:
To visit the website: www.v8sleuth.com.au