Ford Performance Racing is looking to consolidate its championship lead and build on the ever-improving pace of its four factory Fords at this weekend’s Chill Perth 360.
The team returns to the west aiming to repeat its three-win clean sweep from last season.
Points leader Will Davison, who claimed two of those wins, secured the team’s first victory of the year in New Zealand and is enjoying a consistent start to the year.
“We just have to make sure we hold on to what we’ve been doing so far this season – be smart and keep working hard,” Davison said.
“Perth offers up quite a different circuit to where we’ve been so far this year and I think it will be quite challenging as the races are very different and so are the cars.
Under the new (60/60 Super Sprint) format Saturday and Sunday are very different – but the same things apply to both. If the car is kind to its tyres it will put you in good stead.
“Our late stint pace has been a positive thing for us all year so hopefully that continues this weekend.”
Mark Winterbottom claimed Saturday’s race in 2012, though a run of bad luck and a bullish start to the year has not allowed him to transfer his pack-leading pace into wins.
“We have historically been good in Perth, in fact the whole team has always been strong and I’ve driven well, so we like going there,” Winterbottom said.
“That said, things are very different from last year but that just makes performing more important than ever. We need to look after the tyres given we are only using softs, so our overall performance becomes more important.
“Fingers crossed the tyre life is as good as the car pace we know we have. If that’s the case we can win some races.”
David Reynolds and Alex Davison both enjoyed their best performances of 2013 at Pukekohe and the pair believes they can transfer that pace to the short, sharp Barbagallo layout.
“I’m looking forward to consolidating what was overall a pretty reasonable result in New Zealand,” Reynolds said.
“We definitely need to finish more races and get my points going up as the early part of the year hurt us greatly.
“Barbagallo is all about tyres, especially this year given we are using the soft compound. Reducing the wear rate is paramount to a good result, especially with the format of the races so that is going to be interesting to see how all the teams tackle tyre strategy.”
Davison is looking forward to Perth on the back of his finish at the last event.
“After finishing off reasonably strongly on Sunday in New Zealand it has been tough to wait three weeks to get back on track as you want to get keep that momentum,” Davison said.
“We are hoping some of what we learned will carry forward and improve our form in Perth. Last time I was there I was competitive and qualified well so I have high hopes of being strong again.
“However, my main focus again is to have a better day on Friday so we end practice with a better car that will help us set-up our weekend better so we don’t have to play catch-up.”