Ford Performance Racing has undertaken initial design work on an FG X Falcon V8 Supercar for the 2015 season as it continues to negotiate a new deal with Ford.
The new Falcon, which is set to be the last in the nameplate’s 55 year lineage, was revealed to the public in July and will go on sale in December.
Ford will produce the FG X alongside an updated Territory SUV until shutting its Australian production in October, 2016.
FPR has been supplied Computer Aided Design files of the new car from Ford ahead of its expected V8 Supercars debut next season.
Team principal Tim Edwards confirmed to Speedcafe.com that preliminary design work on the FG X race car has been undertaken, but stresses that a new sponsorship agreement must be locked in before anything is turned into physical parts.
Ford signed a one-year extension of its FPR agreement last October, but has remained coy on a commitment beyond the end of the current season.
“We’ve got info on the car but we can’t do anything until we’ve got some kind of deal in place,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com.
“We haven’t got any parts or anything like that, we’re nowhere near that stage.
“But we’ve had an indicative look at it, we know roughly what it’ll look like.
“At the moment it’s just fairly and squarely work in progress trying to work it out with Ford.”
FPR is understood to be discussing a range of options with Ford regarding future funding, including a dealer-led program similar to that seen in previous decades.
Although the new Falcon retains the glasshouse of the FG, the cosmetic changes ensure that manufacturing parts for its four-car fleet ahead of the new season will be a time consuming process.
Edwards says that he’d like to have its first FG X bodywork on track by December ahead of aero homologations the following month.
“We need it (a deal) sorted now, but we’re not there at the moment,” he said of the increasingly tight nature of the project.
“Hopefully we’ll have something sooner rather than later.”
The new model will provide FPR with a chance to homologate a new V8 Supercars aero package, ensuring that “any doubts we have over the current aero parity can be addressed”.
FPR and fellow Ford outfit Dick Johnson Racing remain adamant that the FG was disadvantaged by inaccuracies in the 2013 and 2014 pre-season V8 Supercars aero testing.
The category is still sifting through information from last month’s five-day evaluation of its procedures, where it ran its Ford FG and Holden Commodore VF prototypes side-by-side.
While no data has yet been presented to teams, V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton told Speedcafe.com that “there was no red flag that there are major issues that we need to address” following the test, strongly suggesting that rehomologations of the current cars are unlikely to take place.
Edwards says his squad is resigned to completing the season with the FG in its current configuration.
“Had that (test) happened earlier in the year, maybe we would have had something to work with,” he said.
“But there’s no way we’ll get something changed at this point.
“It just is what it is and we’ve got to focus on making what we’ve got faster.”
FPR’s star driver Mark Winterbottom sits second to Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup in the V8 Supercars Championship after a tough run in recent events, but will head to this week’s Wilson Security Sandown 500 with renewed confidence after a productive test at Winton last week.
Winterbottom will be joined by Steve Owen for the Pirtek Enduro Cup, with the remainder of its cars filled by Chaz Mostert/Paul Morris, David Reynolds/Dean Canto and Jack Perkins/Cameron Waters.
“We’ll come fighting back,” said Edwards of Sandown.
“We’re certainly not writing ourselves off even if other people are.
“We’ve got plenty of smart blokes and good drivers, which are the ingredients that we need.”