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Ford's Young Guns set for Oran Park

 

Ford heads to the only Sydney race of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park this weekend with two of its young stars looking to score a top result.

Ford heads to the only Sydney race of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park this weekend with two of its young stars looking to score a top result.

Mark Winterbottom (BroadIP / Ford Credit Ford Performance Racing) and James Courtney (Jeld-Wen Motorsport) are both originally from Sydney and spent a lot of their junior years either competing or watching events at Oran Park.

25-year-old Winterbottom has competed in karts, Formula Ford and V8 Supercars at the track outside Campbelltown. 26-year-old Courtney is less experience with just karting and some V8 ride days to his name.

Oran Park will be the final round to feature the reverse-grid second race.

Currently placed fifth in this year's title chase, Winterbottom is no stranger to winning races from the rear of the field, having won his last reverse-grid V8 Supercar race in Sydney back in 2003 in the Development Series.

"This is my only home race of the season so I am very keen to make it a memorable one," said Winterbottom

"Oran Park is without a doubt the most demanding circuit of the season in terms of chassis set-up. It is a major challenge to get your car absolutely right there. This is why it is so rewarding when you can achieve a victory there, which for me was back in 2002 in a Formula Ford.

"I really like the circuit layout because of the fact that it is so challenging for every driver."

Courtney is one of the most experienced international racers in the field, having driven everything from sportscars to Formula One. His car racing experience in Australia has been limited to V8 Supercar rounds at Sandown and Bathurst last year, plus the opening six rounds of 2006.

Courtney enjoyed his best outing of the season at the last round in Queensland, where he was in-line for a podium finish before engine dramas.

Heading home to Sydney and especially Oran Park is something he's looking forward to.

"I pretty much grew up with Oran Park in my back yard until I was 15 when I moved overseas," said Courtney.

"I know the go-kart track pretty well but that won't be much help to me this weekend!

"I do know half the circuit having done a ride day there last year but I will still be going through the learning process to a degree.

"The JELD-WEN guys and I have got it down pat now. We do plenty of homework in the lead up and with video footage and so on then it's just a matter of getting on track and having a go.

"After Queensland Raceway, we know that we can run at the front and mix it with those guys so I'm just really looking forward to getting out there."


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