Steven Richards says that the introduction of Dunlop Super Dealers as the major sponsor for his Ford Performance Racing Falcon FG has boosted the team’s moral ahead of next week’s opening round in the Middle East.
The deal for the tyre supplier to come on as the major backer (replacing Castrol) was only done within the past few weeks, and Richards says that having the company’s support is a big help.
“Up until three or four weeks ago, it was a pretty plain looking race car,” he told Speedcafe.com.au.
”It gives everyone in the team a really good feeling, from two perspectives – the team already had an existing relationship with Dunlop, and for myself, I’ve been involved with them for the past seven seasons.
“It’s fantastic that they’ve risen to the occasion and come on board. I think it gives the team some recognition, from a performance point of view, that we’re worthy of the support.”
Dunlop has been involved in V8 Supercars for a long time, being the control tyre supplier to the V8 Supercars since 2002. Now, it has its own car to support. Will Richards get the fastest sets of tyres?
“If there is a good batch, I reckon I should be high up on the list!” he joked.
“Maybe they could give me some of those Sprint tyres that last a little longer. But don’t laugh, if I qualify on pole and win both races at the first round, I’m sure there will be questions asked …”
The V8 Supercars Championship Series kicks off next weekend in Abu Dhabi – V8s first visit to the Yas Marina Circuit – and Richards expects the order of the pack to be mixed.
“It’s an incredibly impressive facility,” he said.
“It’s got quite a few faster corners, which the old Bahrain circuit didn’t have, but we’re racing on the GP circuit this year so I’m looking forward to that too.
“Yas Marina is clearly a magnificent circuit, nice and wide, and I think we’ve proved in V8 Supercars in the past that the wider you make the circuit, the better the racing is.
“A new circuit can sometimes alter the pecking order, and with a different qualifying format this year with alter that dynamic. I’m looking forward to challenging myself with a new circuit and layout.”