In the fallout from the row between Team Kiwi and its car supplier Ford Performance Racing, Ford New Zealand says that as a sponsor and investor in the Auckland-based V8 Supercar team it wants the team and Ford’s relationship with TKR to continue.
June 8, 2007, 4.30pm. Ford New Zealand says that though it is disappointed a Team Kiwi racing (TKR) Ford Falcon won’t be on the grid at Eastern Creek this weekend, that won’t affect its relationship with the beleaguered outfit.
Ford NZ public affairs manager Clare Ponton says the company has made a significant investment in TKR, and has a strong desire for the relationship to continue.
Ponton says TKR owner David John has indicated he will be able to meet the $Au150,000 fine for not appearing at this weekend’s round.
TKR hit the headlines this week when Ford Performance Racing which built and prepares the Kiwi Falcon said it wouldn’t release the car to race at Eastern Creek because John had not met contractual requirements regarding payments to FPR.
John has denied that TKR owes any money to the ProDrive-owned FPR.
Without a car he had arranged to lease a BA Falcon racer for this weekend, but said this morning that there wasn’t enough time to get it race-ready for this weekend.
By not appearing, TKR is in breach of its contract with series organisers and has incurred the $Au150,000 fine.
John says he will have the car ready for the next round of the V8 Supercar series in Darwin.
He’s also without a driver after Kiwi star Paul Radisich terminated his contract, saying he couldn’t continue with the team because it had breached its contract with FPR.
John has said he has drivers in mind for the seat but has made no announcement of who they are.
Ford NZ’s Ponton said it was over to John to decide whether he would select a New Zealander for the drive.
“One reason why we got involved with TKR was we wanted (to be involved with) a team with a strong New Zealand focus,” she said.
Asked whether Ford had a position on the fact that John had raised more than $300,000 from the New Zealand public so the team could continue to represent NZ in the series after its Commodore was wrecked at Bathurst last year, Ponton said: “like (TKR) we are appreciative of the support that the New Zealand public showed the team.
“Anything further in regards to contractual (matters) I’m not in a position to comment on.”
Autotrader.co.nz asked her that if TKR wasn’t able to continue, would Ford NZ consider switching its support to the Glenfords operation which is run by a New Zealander and is crewed largely by Kiwi mechanics (Aussie V8 icon John Bowe drives the Glenfords Falcon).
“We have made a commitment to TKR,” she said. “A commitment and investment in TKR.”
Ponton said Ford NZ executives will hold talks with David John next week.