Ford has unveiled its striking `Nitro` blue with white themed FG01 V8 Supercar ahead of the car`s initial public appearance at Sandown in Melbourne this weekend where it will take to the track for the first time.
Based on Ford`s recently launched FG Falcon XR8 sedan road car, the new Blue Oval weapon was designed and built by major Ford V8 Supercar teams Ford Performance Racing (FPR) Triple 8 (T8) and Stone Brothers Racing (SBR).
In development for over 18 months FG01 was created to meet specific Ford design requirements in addition to fitting the Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA) `Blueprint specification`, and it is now set for a mid-year homologation.
"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."
TEGA specifications control all dimensional aspects related to V8 Supercar length, width, height, weight, wheelbase, wheel track, suspension mounting points, front bumper and rear wing positions, plus a number of secondary mounting point positions.
The FG01 build involved a number of complex processes including the floor, cage, internal structural panels and external finish panels.
A major design consideration was to ensure that the maximum amount of BF mechanical components could carry over into the new FG chassis to assist with cost control and minimise redundant parts.
The cage and floor are assembled together in a master jig which provides dimensional points for the body to be built. This method gives structural integrity without relying on exterior panels for safety which allows for quicker and more cost effective crash repairs.
One significant safety-related improvement involved moving the driver seat as far inboard as possible, creating a noticeable gap between the seat and driver door.
This adjustment required using part of the transmission tunnel for the driver`s seat and seat belt mounting points, and required the steering column and pedal box to be moved further inboard to accommodate the new driver position.
FG01 features a strengthened roll cage at the driver`s door area to minimise any side-impact intrusion which combined with the shift in seat position provides an optimum level of driver safety.
"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 Ray 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 racecar 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."
The FG01 prototype will reside in pit lane for the duration of Sandown this weekend, from where it will launch into a number of preview laps on the 3.1 kilometre circuit.
Craig Lowndes is set to steer the new Falcon with associate Ford driver and Channel Seven pit reporter Grant Denyer riding as passenger, giving the V8 Supercar world a glimpse of Ford`s future in the sport.
The FG V8 Supercar and Ford`s traditional line-up of Falcon`s will hit the track this weekend at the Midas 400, Sandown Raceway June 7-9. Tickets available through Ticketmaster or at the gate, further information at www.sandown400.com.
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