Prodrive Racing Australia boss Tim Edwards insists the team has moved on from courting Ford backing and is comfortable with its current arrangement.
Speaking with Neil Crompton on Inside Supercars today, Edwards explained why fans still see the Ford logo on the team’s V8 Supercars and merchandise.
If a rival manufacturer came knocking, it wouldn’t be turned away, but Edwards says he and his team are still blue “through and through”.
“We’ve moved on,” Edwards told Inside Supercars when asked of his disappointment about Ford’s decision.
“It hasn’t just happened overnight, it’s been building over the last three years really and in effect we weren’t really supported last year. So we’ve grown accustomed to it, we’ve moved on – the company has made its decision, we’ve accepted that, and we’ve forged on.
“To win the championship as we did last year, as a relatively privateer team adds a little bit more kudos to it.”
Formerly Ford Performance Racing, Prodrive was Ford’s factory team from its inception in 2003. While the Ford deal officially ended at the end of last year, as Edwards explained, there was only minimal support during the 2015 season.
“We’re licensed to put the oval on the car, which I think is a great thing for us, and we’ve also got that on some of the merchandise,” Edwards said.
“But where we’ve moved on to – we’ve always had great support from the dealers – that’s continued. In particular, Bayfords have stepped up this year as a sponsor.
“We get cars from them, panel supply and so that’s been great.
“The good thing for us is that Ford fans have actually acknowledged that and they’re coming from all around the country to buy their cars from Bayford.”
Edwards wouldn’t be drawn into a debate about Ford supporting other motorsport categories globally.
And while he did say the team would “absolutely” consider negotiations with other manufacturers wishing to enter the sport, Edwards spelled out his passion for the blue oval brand.
“One of the great things about the car of the future is it is easily adaptable to all new manufacturers that come and join the category,” he said.
“Saying that, we are blue through and through.
“I started my career … 35 years ago, in a Ford dealership. My dad was quite successful at the Armstrong 500 in 1962 racing a Falcon. So, me personally, I’m blue through and through as are a lot of our staff, as are a lot of our sponsors and our fans.”
Edwards acknowledged the closeness of the V8 Supercars field this year, particularly key rival team Triple Eight but said Prodrive was still as competitive as in 2015, when it won the championship with Mark Winterbottom.
He is the highest place Prodrive driver in the Championship standings, in fourth, 39 points behind leader Will Davison as the championship heads to the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint this weekend.