Prodrive: We're not thinking Championship!

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 11/06/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Don't think about the V8 Supercars Championship. Just be consistent.

That's the rule at Prodrive Racing Australia as it prepares to head for the June 19-21 SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin SuperSprint with star driver Mark 'Frosty' Winterbottom on top of the points table.

In its 13 years as a factory Ford team, PRA (up until this year known as Ford Performance Racing) has never won a teams or drivers' championship, while Triple Eight Race Engineering, which came into V8 Supercars the same year, has won six drivers' championships with Jamie Whincup and six teams' championships.

Prodrive - especially in recent seasons - has had strong bursts within seasons but hasn't been consistent enough to snare a Championship.

It was a weakness bluntly identified by Holden Racing Team star James Courtney earlier this week when he said "they (Prodrive) tend to step on their d#@! at a number of points through the year and we're just waiting for that to happen".

The story and Courtney's comments were criticised by V8 Supercars fans, as PRA team principal Tim Edwards noted. But he also conceded there was some truth to the comments.

"Look, as I've said we are acutely aware of the need to be consistently at the front across the entire year," Edwards told v8supercars.com.au. "However, given the public reaction to what James said the other day I think he has other things to be worrying about than the form of other teams."

Between them Winterbottom and Pepsi Max teammate Chaz Mostert have claimed five race wins and six pole positions in their new Ford Falcon FG Xs in 2015. Winterbottom leads Triple Eight's Craig Lowndes by 12 points in his Red Bull Racing Holden Commodore VF. Mostert is back in seventh; having lost significant points because of crashes at the Clipsal 500 and NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint.

Winterbottom exited the 2014 Darwin event after winning the Sunday race with a 161 points lead. From there though, with the old Falcon FG II hitting a development brick wall, he struggled and eventually finished third in the title chase a massive 596 points behind Whincup.

Now in his 10th year with Prodrive, Winterbottom has finished second in the drivers' championship once and third five times.

"We are not thinking about the Championship or anything at the moment," Edwards insisted. "All we are thinking about is how are we going to win Darwin.

"Then we will get through Darwin and then 'right, how are we going to win Townsville'?

"Don't get me wrong, we all want to win the Championship. There is no doubt about that, but we are not focussing on winning the Championship.

"If we can just go to every race and be as competitive as we can then that will deliver us the Championship."

While the FG X is the class of the field right now, Edwards warned that PRA cannot expect that dominance to continue unchallenged.

"You are always going to find some tracks suit some cars more than others, but from the point Frosty and Chaz drove this car at Sydney Motorsport Park in February their comments straight away were 'we have made some big inroads into this car'. So there is no doubt the car is better this year than it has been for the past two years, when we could potentially argue we had one arm tied behind our backs.

"So we are certainly not going to be able to go to races and dominate with the pole positions the way we have over the last couple of rounds - you do have to realistic.

"And the reality is every one of our competitors is sitting at their desks at the moment working as hard as they possibly can to improve their own cars. So we just have to do the same.

"We have a whole host of things we have planned to bring on line over the next couple of months because you just can't sit still."

Edwards said the team's revised engineering structure was helping it maintain high performance levels. The departure of Winterbottom's engineer Grant McPherson to work with Craig Lowndes means Nathaniel Osborne now sits alone at the top of the structure.

JasonGray has been elevated from data engineer to become Winterbottom's engineer after working on car #5 for the last five years. Meanwhile, Brad Wischusen joined the team from Erebus to take over from Osborne on David Reynolds' Bottle-O Ford.

"I would like to think we have simplified things with the new structure," Edwards said. "Ultimately we had one person leave and one person come, so it's not like we had this wholesale change of staff.

"It's really about using the resource that people have got here and all the right people are in the right roles.

"There is no doubt we are going to races better prepared than we ever have done in terms of our homework. So we just have to keep doing all the small things right and we will see where we land."

The SKYCITY Triple Crown runs from June 19-21, with tickets available by clicking here.

Follow live on FOX SPORTS 506 across the three days and stay tuned to TEN and ONE for highlights.

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