News - Ford
Prodrive vows to lift Ford's V8 Supercar performance
We can help Ford win more races says British motorsport guru
1 Aug 2001
By BRUCE NEWTON
FORD'S V8 Supercar campaign will be the first beneficiary of British automotive technology and motorsport company Prodrive's acquisition of the Tickford group, according to Prodrive chairman David Richards.
Mr Richards has just left Australia after a whirlwind tour which included Tickford's facilities in Campbellfield, Victoria, the Oran Park V8 Supercar round and two meetings with Ford Australia President Geoff Polites.
Prodrive acquired the Tickford group in May, which includes Melbourne-based Tickford Vehicle Engineering - a co-venture with Ford Australia that builds XR Falcons and the T-Series range - and Tickford Asia Pacific.
"On the racing side I can see there are areas where we can probably add some value, where we could probably help there," Mr Richards said.
"It seems to me just on a very cursory observation that the Ford teams don't share the knowledge they should do, there's no real focal point and (Ford motorsport manager) Howard Marsden I know is trying to achieve that, and I would like to help him in that process." While refusing to talk in-depth about the assistance Prodrive could provide, Mr Richards identified computer modelling and data collection and distribution as Prodrive areas of expertise.
Prodrive has a long and successful history of race team management for major manufacturers including Subaru's world rally program and Ford's British Touring Car Championship team. It is currently developing Volvo's contender for new FIA touring car regulations in Europe.
"We can apply a lot of the skills we apply from our race programs," Mr Richards explained. "We've got a very disciplined operation in terms of the way it works, and clearly Tom Walkinshaw's done that for Holden out here and I don't see why we couldn't do the same or better for Ford teams." Mr Richards said it was not important to him that the Ford Tickford Racing team of Glenn Seton and Steven Richards was always at the forefront of Ford's V8 Supercar results: "Ford should be the best teams out there. Ford should beat Holden that's got to be the issue, and that's whichever team it might be, which is all our teams doing well." Mr Richards admitted being sceptical about the V8 Supercar formula before spectating at Oran Park, but came away a convert.
"I come from Europe where we have two-litre touring cars and a number of manufacturers involved and to come to a market here with two manufacturers involved naturally you're a little questioning of the whole thing," Mr Richards said.
"When I saw it and understood the rationale of the whole thing and saw the following it gets - the football crowd analogy - and then I started to realise just what a positive and very successful series it is. It is a great formula."
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