Ceprnich to engineer Super Black

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/10/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Highly experienced Paul Ceprnich has been drafted in to engineer Super Black Racing's Ford Falcon in this week's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Ceprnich has been recruited by Ford Performance Racing (FPR), which is mounting the Bathurst bid on behalf of New Zealand millionaire Tony Lentino's rookie V8 Supercars team.

Ceprnich has years of experience in the championship pitlane and an intimate knowledge of the New Generation V8 Supercar through his engineering and development business Pace Innovations.

The Super Black Falcon will be driven by New Zealanders Ant Pedersen and Andre Heimgartner, with a crew - apart from Ceprnich - made up of current and former FPR staffers.

The team manager will be former FPR #6 number one mechanic Stephen Ryan, while Reece Ellison will be data engineer, a role he performed for FPR star Mark Winterbottom for some years.

Ellison currently works for Team Kean Racing in the Dunlop Series and will continue in that role over the Bathurst event as well.

The crew for Super Black has been assembled by FPR team manger Chris O'Toole, who says he is confident the team can post a top 15 finish in the legendary race.

"What we want them to do is finish every session and finish the race," said O'Toole. "If they do that and we can engineer it on the lead lap, then they will be in the top 15.

"The car is fast enough and we think the guys are fast enough. If they drive within themselves then we think they can do it."

O'Toole said he was encouraged for Bathurst by a Winton test which was attended by 90 per cent of Super Black's one-off crew at which they bonded quickly.

"They are good, reliable blokes that's why we are using them," he said.

However, O'Toole said there were pitfalls the new crew would have to watch out for.

"I think there is that little bit of attention to detail to make sure they don't miss anything," he explained. "They have all got it in them it's just making sure they keep on top of it and they don't get distracted by the fact it is a one-off deal."

Ensuring Super Black is properly looked after by FPR, O'Toole will effectively manage the team with Ryan assisting, while Ceprnich will attend the prebriefs and debriefs alongside the engineers of the other four cars in the squad.

Intriguingly, Super Black will pit alone rather than share a boom with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport as had originally been planned.

LDM has pitted alone all year and is keen to continue that at Bathurst. O'Toole said he was happy for Super Black to also be stand alone and was confident the highly experienced crew would quickly get into the pit stop groove after a few practice runs.

"We intend on being independent," he said. "Lucas wants his independence as well. He just wants to continue doing his own thing, which suits us down to the ground. We have our own team, our own stuff and our own boom so there is no reason it can't be done."

Ceprnich's relationship with FPR goes back as far as 2005 and as recently as this year's Darwin championship round he was called in to engineer Jack Perkins' Jeld-Wen Falcon - which is run out of FPR - because regular engineer Dave Paterson had to miss the event.

"We've had a good relationship with Paul over the years, using his business for wok on chassis and all sorts of stuff, so he is certainly not new to the business," O'Toole said.

"We have had a lot to do with him over the years, he's always been in the loop with us somewhere."

O'Toole confirmed former FPR senior engineer Campbell Little had also been approached about the Super Black engineering job, but he was committed to LDM for the entire Pirtek Enduro Cup.

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