Prodrive plans new Supercars mega factory
Plans for Prodrive Racing Australia to move into a new factory are underway, with a fresh facility promising to raise the standard in the Supercars category.
The team formerly known as Ford Performance Racing has been located in Campbellfield, Melbourne, since 2004.
Its headquarters were strategically set up across the road from Ford Australia’s main assembly plant and doubled as the business centre for the now defunct Ford Performance Vehicles brand.
Team owners Rusty French and Rod Nash inherited the current lease when buying the business from Prodrive founder David Richards in 2012 but, according to French, had always planned on moving.
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Land at a yet-to-be-disclosed Melbourne location has already been earmarked for the shift, which will take place at the end of 2017.
French is currently in the United States, touring the Team Penske and Roush Yates Racing shops in Mooresville, North Carolina to help with plans for his team’s new facility.
A sand mining magnate and long-time racer, French has struck up a friendship with Penske president Tim Cindric, who gave the Australian the lay of the land.
“We’re building a new shop that needs to have more thought put into it about what our future needs will be for the next 10 years,” French told Speedcafe.com.
“Where we are now was originally built for two cars and we’ve now got six, which is really stretching it.
“It was great that the Penske guys offered to say ‘have a look at what we’ve done and get some ideas’.
“We want to build it our way so we can put our trucks inside and put all our dynos and everything where we want it.
“The only way you can do that is by sitting down with a blank page and planning it out.
“It’ll be about a $15-18 million facility. It’ll be 10,000sqm, which is double what we have now.”
Construction of Prodrive’s new shop is scheduled to begin in January and be completed by October ahead of a move in the 2017/18 off-season.
French’s trip to the United States also saw him in action over the weekend aboard a GT2 Chevrolet Corvette at Wisconsin’s famed Road America.
The drive came through Charlotte-based car owner Dave Roberts, who French met through Cindric at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
Competing in a big field of GT, Trans Am and Production machinery, French drove from 29th to seventh outright in the feature race, chalking up second in his class.
“The race was wet and I was on slicks chasing the (class) leader at the end on wets,” said French.
“There were a lot of yellows and cars off due to the conditions but it was great to experience Road America.
“I’ll definitely be back next year.”
French will return to Australia in time to continue his Touring Car Masters duties at Queensland Raceway this weekend.