Team(s): The Bottle-O Racing Team / Supercheap Auto Racing / Monster Energy Racing / MEGA Racing
Team Principal: Rusty French; Rod Nash
Chassis: Ford Falcon FG X
Drivers’ Championships: 2015
Prodrive Racing Australia (formerly known as Ford Performance Racing) was formed in December 2002 after British engineering firm Prodrive, bought Glenn Seton Racing. Ahead of the 2013 season, Ford Performance Racing underwent a change of ownership with leading Australian motorsport identities Rod Nash and ‘Rusty’ French purchasing the team from Prodrive. The team also expanded to a four-car operation with Racing Entitlements Contract owner Charlie Schwerkolt bringing in his #18 license from Dick Johnson Racing in a multi-year agreement.
In 2014, PRA were informed by Ford Australia that from 2016 the car manufacturer would no longer support the team and its racing program. The team’s best moment came when Chaz Mostert and co-driver Paul Morris won the Bathurst 1000, FPR’s second win at the great race in as many years.
In 2015 the team changed its name to Prodrive Racing Australia, as a result of Ford’s decision to progressively withdraw its support by 2016.
Despite minimal factory support in 2015, the team still ran the new FG X Falcon in 2015 as planned, winning its first ever Drivers’ championship after Mark Winterbottom dominated the majority of the season. Pepsi Max Crew teammate Chaz Mostert also enjoyed a strong showing until a season-ending crash at Bathurst, while stablemate David Reynolds (The Bottle-O Racing Team) secured third in the championship and Andre Heimgartner (Super Black Racing) enjoyed a promising rookie season before unexpectedly being replaced by Chris Pither with two rounds to go.
The Ford team remained at four entries for 2016, but with a major branding re-shuffle. Mark Winterbottom raced under The Bottle-O Racing colours, Chaz Mostert had the backing of SuperCheap Auto, Cam Waters had the support of Monster Energy (TBC), and New Zealander Chris Pither brought Ice Break to the Super Black Racing customer entry. Looking to repeat their 2015 success, it was a disappointing year for the squad, only managing two wins (both by Winterbottom) despite all drivers securing a pole position during the season.
2017 will see Winterbottom, Mostert and Waters remain at the squad while Jason Bright joins in place of the ousted Pither, returning to the team for the first time since 2006 with MEGA Racing.