The Rabble.Club Sandown 500 this weekend will provide the first opportunity for gamblers to glimpse a Ranger Raptor with a new image, since Ford’s off-road performance has been named as the official recovery vehicle of the Supercars Championship. Virgin Australia.
The Ford Asia Pacific team based in Melbourne designed the tailor-made livery of the Raptor that it is now eating, with the team emphasizing the yellow “fluorescent” recovery mark and the “Rockslide” welcome graphics applied from bow to stern.
“The determined aspect of the Ranger Raptor is a highlight in any crowd, but in the colorful and intense environment of a Supercars racing event, the main objective is high visibility for the safety of competitors”, Ford Asia Design Director -Pacific, Todd Willing, said.
“Working on Ford Performance products as Ranger Raptor always causes passion beyond the normal within the team at Broadmeadows,” he said. “Creating a livery that focuses the attention of an enthusiastic audience on the new Ranger Raptor is the icing on the cake.”
Other modifications include a roof-mounted lightbar, special lights for side mounting, lamps that work at night and specialized communications equipment; otherwise, the Ranger remains unchanged.
The Raptor, with its bi-turbo engine of 157kW / 500Nm, 10-speed automatic transmission and Fox suspension, will be a vehicle suitable for recovery claims on land, according to Alastair Walker, the head of recovery of Supercars.
“The Recovery Raptor needs to be able to respond to incidents at any time, whether on the race track or off the track in mud, gravel or sand,” Walker said.
“You need to be able to operate on any surface and be flexible to allow the driver to quickly switch between different types of surfaces and different recovery modes, where you may need to activate the low 4WD range to get something out of a gravel fence or trap , for example.
“I really want to get used to the vehicle and really stretch it to its full capacity, I’m sure it will provide an excellent tool to help the team and me move forward,” he said. “The standard factory front and rear towing points will be a great help in carrying out some of the work we do, such as dumping vehicles or straightening vehicles before loading them on trucks.”
The Sandown 500 starts this weekend, from September 14 to 16.
Seven-times Supercars champion Jamie Whincup admits that his mixed career in the PIRTEK Enduro Cup in recent years has been “bothering” him.
Whincup and Paul Dumbrell won the silverware for three events in 2014, the year they led Bathurst on the last lap, but ran out of fuel and fell to fifth place.
That was followed by Big Race opportunities lost in 2015 and ’16, incurring penalties each year, and an engine problem last October that left his Red Bull Holden in 20th place.
In 2014, Whincup and Dumbrell won at Sandown and won a second and a first place in the Gold Coast.
Since then, they finished 15th, 13th and 6th in Sandown and 24th, 7th, 3rd, 1st, 6th and 2nd in the streets of Surfers.
That left Whincup and Dumbrell 13th in the 2015 Enduro Cup, fourth in ’16 and fifth last year, a record that Whincup called “a pretty grim endeavor.”
“I had a fairly normal race in endurance season in the last three or four years, so that bothers me,” said Whincup, who won the last time at The Bend.
“Fortunately we can take the rhythm from Tailem Bend to Sandown and, of course, to Bathurst and my start track, Gold Coast.
“We had a pretty normal race, we lost a lot of points [in those races] and we hope we can compensate this year.”
Whincup starts the RABBLE.club Sandown 500 with 362 points behind teammate Shane van Gisbergen, who has a 19-point lead in the championship over Scott McLaughlin.
With 900 points in play for enduros, Whincup insists that a bet on an eighth title is not in his mind.
“I’m very far away and we’re going to need some luck,” he said.
“But I’m not even thinking about that, to be honest, I’m going out, trying to have fun and win some races.”
Whincup was ready to make his US racing debut this weekend at Laguna Seca in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
However, the owner of the Mercedes to which he had to compete, Kenny Habul, became ill and removed the car.