As a follow-up to Ford Performance Racing’s good and bad Round Two on Sunday just gone, it seems that Steven Richards will front for the dog_and_pony_show at Albert Park this weekend.
Richards reports that he’s a tad sore down the right side, but all things considered, pulled up from his 160kph prang in race three at Eastern Creek remarkably fit. Car #6 didn’t however. Known at FPR as chassis 604, the car has been deemed a total write-off with very little salvageable equipment likely to be taken from it. The Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA) will be undertaking a post-mortum on the car as a means of relaying safety feedback to other teams, but it appears that a spilt rim was the key to Richards’ collossal head-on meeting with an earth and tyre bank on lap three, race three.
Mark Winterbottom’s car from last year – chassis 503 in the vernacular – is currently being readied for the three-race weekend in Melbourne. Team principle, Tim Edwards, is quoted as thanking the Jason Bright owned Britek Racing and Brad Jones Racing heartily for their support in providing parts, technical assistance and even the loan of a car if necessary, so that FPR can have a car for Richards to run.
The reason for the total loss of car #6 being the designed ability of the chassis and roll cage to absorb the impact throughout the structure. The engine was forced entirely through the firewall by the impact. These cars are totally different from what we might buy off the showroom floor, being constructed from a floor pan upwards, around the intergrated roll cage frame, which provides structural integrity. It’s this construction method which preserves the drivers life in many cases, together with properly worn restraints and equipment like the Head_And_Neck_Support (HANS) device. There can be, however, no guaranteed safety system for these race cars, or indeed, any race car. That Ashley Cooper lost his life in what appeared to be a lesser impact almost three weeks ago in Adelaide, merely serves to prove the oft quoted claim that motor racing is a dangerous sport.