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Ford  Set for Sandown: Craig Lowndes will hot-lap the FG01 this weekend.

Set for Sandown: Craig Lowndes will hot-lap the FG01 this weekend.

Ford's next-generation V8 Supercar breaks cover ahead of the FG01's Sandown debut

FORD has wheeled out its all-new FG Falcon-based V8 Supercar ahead of its official debut at this weekend’s Midas 400 endurance race meeting at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway.

The Blue Oval’s head-turning new touring car, dubbed FG01, emerges in an aggressive new blue and white paint scheme dubbed Nitro, and is based on the redesigned Falcon XR8 sedan.

Ford says the FG01 was co-developed over 18 months by its major V8 Supercar teams in Ford Performance Racing (FPR) Triple 8 (T8) and Stone Brothers Racing (SBR).

It meets specific Ford design requirements as well as the Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA) 'Blueprint specification', but won’t hit the track in anger until it is homologated for racing mid-year.

Ford center imageThe FG01 prototype will spend most of its time in the Sandown pit lane this weekend, taking to the undulating 3.1km Victorian circuit only for demonstration laps in the hands of Ford V8 Supercar hero Craig Lowndes, with Channel Seven pit reporter and associate Ford driver Grant Denyer in the passenger seat.

“We are absolutely ecstatic with our new FG01. Overall the car looks a much tougher package,” said Ford Racing manager, Ray Price.

“Aside from the obvious lines and aesthetics that we've inherited from the FG Falcon XR8 road car, the adjustments to create a unique and functional V8 Supercar have come together into one extremely well rounded vehicle which we are very pleased with.

“The Nitro blue colour is distinctly Ford and our Blue Oval dedicated livery - which was created especially for the FG01 prototype by a Ford employee in our design studio - is in line with our ongoing commitment to V8 Supercars.

“Developing FG01 was an intricate process and the design and build centred around meeting TEGA specifications alongside the goals of Ford and its major V8 Supercar teams, which were mainly related to cost reduction, reparability and safety.”

Ford says the FG01 incorporates as many mechanical components from the BF Falcon as possible, but meets specific TEGA specifications including its length, width, height, weight, wheelbase, wheel track, suspension mounting points, front bumper and rear wing positions, plus a number of secondary mounting point positions.

Apart from its all-new exterior body panels, the FG01 has a new floor, internal structural panels and roll cage, which has been strengthened in the driver’s door area.

In what the company says was a major safety advance, the FG01’s driver has also been positioned as far inboard as possible, creating a noticeable gap between the driver’s seat and door.

Ford says that involved using part of the transmission tunnel for the driver's seat and seatbelt mounting points, and required the steering column and pedal box to be moved further inboard too.

“Ford teams agreed that as a priority this V8 Supercar had to be less expensive to build as a new shell, and less expensive plus quicker to repair in the event of an accident,” said Mr Price.

“Subsequently Ford's new V8 relies less on welded panels for strength than the BF, allowing for swifter removal and replacement of damaged panels.

“We achieved this through a comprehensive design strategy where the floor and cage were built up as an assembly and the exterior panels fixed to the car rather than welded.

“Additionally, sacrificial structures have been incorporated which can be easily replaced after an accident.

“The overall functionality of our new race car combined with its aggressive look will ensure the Ford teams are able to continue building competitive, race-winning Ford V8 Supercars.

“We're looking forward to completing the homologation and getting on with building the number of race cars required for next season. The hard work has just begun, but we have given ourselves plenty of time to build the Ford V8 Supercars we need using our new design/build strategy.”

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