Saturday Sleuthing: The Malaysian Falcon

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/05/2013
  • By V8 Sleuth

AsV8 Supercars ‘goes international’ this weekend in Austin, Texas, our V8 Sleuthhas focused on one of the many cars that have ended up offshore and continuedracing far from home.

This weekend’sAustin 400 in the United States is the latest overseas trip made by the V8Supercars Championship and follows previous international destinationsincluding New Zealand, China, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

While ourchampionship has international flavour with some of its venues and now with itsdrivers (via Frenchman Alex Premat, German Maro Engel and a range of NewZealanders and Australians), it’s also amazing just how many of the actual carshave found their way overseas.

At a quick count, there are around 20 V8 Supercars in various corners of theworld – some competing in local categories and others sitting idle.

So, with aninternational event this weekend, we figured Saturday Sleuthing should have aninternational flavour as well, which tied in nicely with some contact we hadfrom a fan earlier in the season.

Our V8 SleuthAaron Noonan received an email earlier in the year from race fan FabioTatasciore, who attended the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang.

“Whilewatching the GT support race I noticed what looked like a black BF FalconSupercar in the field,” he wrote.

“Have you anyknowledge on which car this might have been? As I did not buy an officialprogram, the only clue to its previous identity was that it seemed to have ayellow roll cage. It definitely sounded like the real deal.”

The shortanswer Fabio is, yes it is the real deal!

The car Fabio witnessed race at Sepang this year started life as one of theBetta Electrical/John Briggs Motor Sport Falcon AU chassis that ran in 2002.

From the V8Sleuth’s records, it was the #65 car driven by Max Wilson in the Brazilian’sdebut season in the category as teammate to the #66 car of Tony Longhurst (alsoa Betta car) and the #600 CAT car, initially raced by Simon Wills.

Wilson drove that car all season, which included involvement in a nasty accident with Craig Lowndes at Phillip Island when Wilson nailed the throttle after being spun by Marcos Ambrose and, unsighted, Lowndes ploughed into him.

The Wilson carwas re-numbered #66 for the Queensland 500 only and returned to its regular #65for Bathurst with Dean Canto co-driving. 

With the BA Falcon being introduced for 2003, this car did not race and wasbought by Rod Dawson when he purchased another ex-JBMS chassis after TripleEight had purchased the team and effectively had a clean out.

Dormant for acouple of seasons, it was purchased by Development Series team owner/driverMatthew White in 2005 after his driver Dean Wanless had a start line accidentat a DVS round at Queensland Raceway that year in the sister ex-JBMS chassis.

Wanless ranthe car for the remainder of what was then known as the HPDC Series as the #28Smartskip entry and team boss White retained the car in 2006.

He made aone-off appearance in it in 2006 at Wakefield Park’s DVS round after Wanlesshad run it in the season-opener in Adelaide.

White’s team constructed a BA Falcon that emerged later in the season, thoughthis car would also find itself taking on a new skin for its racing future.

While AUFalcons could not be updated to BA Falcons and meet V8 Supercar rules, therewas nothing stopping them being updated to the newer bodywork and sold off torace overseas – and that’s exactly what happened.

The car wassold off to Fugazi Racing in Malaysia, having its first race in the Sepang 12 Hourin August 2007.

But why woulda Malaysian race team buy a V8 Supercar to use in their homeland?

Team ManagerHafiz Marzuki said at the time in a team press release: “Why a Ford Falcon?Maybe it’s our personal interest collectively. Everybody loves the V8 machineand everybody was agreeable that we use the car for this years’ MME race.”

MME stood for Malaysia Merdeka Endurance race, which is commonly referred to asthe Sepang 12 Hour and the car first ran in the ’07 race.

It was lookinggood for a strong result until another car spun and punctured the Ford’s diffcooler. It retired with an hour to go after the diff failed from the previousincident.

Since thatdebut the car has remained in Malaysia and continued to have been raced atSepang in a range of liveries. It initially ran in silver and black coloursbefore swapping to black and green.

A quick checkof the Fugazi Racing Facebook page shows the car competed this year in a blackand brown livery at Sepang – which is how Saturday Sleuthing reader FabioTatasciore saw it at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The topic ofV8 Supercars overseas (and indeed Australian touring cars of all kinds) is onepacked full of interesting stories and we have more up our sleeve to bring toyou here over upcoming months, so keep checking back for more SaturdaySleuthing stories.


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