CAMPBELLFIELD, Australia — Prodrive Racing Australia may not have had the results they are accustomed to as a team so far this year, but the Ford team will have a reason to celebrate at Townsville Street Circuit no matter the outcome.
PRA will compete in the team’s milestone 200th Virgin Australia Supercars Championship round during the Watpac Townsville 400, after debuting in the championship some 14 years ago under the Ford Performance Racing banner at the 2003 Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
Originally created after English motorsport giant Prodrive bought out Glenn Seton Racing, the team now known as PRA is owned by Rod Nash, Rusty French and Sven Burchartz and is in its 15th season of Supercars competition.
The team featured a three-car lineup in its debut season, comprised of three-time series champion Craig Lowndes, former team owner Seton and ex-Stone Brothers pilot David Besnard, who departed at the end of that season.
Prodrive now runs four cars in the Supercars Championship — fielding Mark Winterbottom, Jason Bright, Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert; the latter competing under Nash’s Racing Entitlement Contract — as well as two entries in the Dunlop Super2 Series for reigning champion Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean.
The team shifted over to the PRA name at the start of 2015, in the wake of Ford withdrawing its financial support from Supercars. That was, coincidentally, the year Prodrive finally broke through and won its first driver’s championship with Winterbottom.
Winterbottom has competed in more rounds for Prodrive than any other driver in the team’s history; the 2013 Bathurst 1000 champion has driven for the team since 2006, racing in 160 of the 199 rounds the team has contested.
As a whole, Prodrive has scored 62 race wins, 64 pole positions and 182 podiums, but those numbers don’t include the results achieved by the No. 55 Falcon run by the team for Rod Nash Racing.
Those statistics are scored separately under RNR’s Supercars history, which dates back to 1998.
Prodrive will join a group of current teams that have already reached ‘Club 200’.
DJR Team Penske (as Dick Johnson Racing), Mobil 1 HSV Racing (as the Holden Racing Team), Garry Rogers Motorsport and Brad Jones Racing have all surpassed 200 championship round starts, while Triple Eight Race Engineering will reach that mark at the beginning of 2018.
Prodrive’s driver lineup over the years has included the likes of Lowndes, Seton, Steve Richards, Will Davison and Chaz Mostert (who now runs for Nash), in addition to current drivers Winterbottom, Bright and Cam Waters.
The team has also seen endurance race appearances from offshore stars, including Alain Menu, David Brabham, Mika Salo and Will Power.
Prodrive remains the last Ford team to win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, doing so in 2014 with Mostert and Paul Morris.
CREDIT: Supercars Media