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CRASHED MUSTANG BROUGHT BACK FROM THE DEAD

CRASHED MUSTANG BROUGHT BACK FROM THE DEAD

Published 14 February 2020

STORY: WILL DALE
IMAGES: AN1 IMAGES (DIRK KLYNSMITH), SUPPLIED

The Ford Mustang spectacularly crashed by Chaz Mostert at last year's Vodafone Gold Coast 600 has been saved from the scrapheap.

Chassis FPR 1519 was initially thought to be a write-off after Mostert's hard crash during the Saturday Top 10 Shootout on the Surfers Paradise streets, the damage sustained forced him into a different chassis for the remainder of 2019.

However, despite Tickford Racing initially declaring the car a write-off, a closer inspection by the team over the off-season revealed that it was not damaged beyond repair.

In fact, it wasn’t even the biggest chassis repair the team has done.

“It pretty much sat in the corner for a little bit while we continued racing in the back end of last year, and then we pulled it apart,” Tickford Racing team principal Tim Edwards told V8 Sleuth.

“Once we stripped all the damaged parts and sheetmetal back, the chassis was actually fine. Essentially, the sheetmetal was all replaced and she was as good as new.

Pictures of FPR 1519 and every other Ford that competed in the Bathurst 1000 can be found in our limited edition book Ford At Bathurst, The Cars: 1963-2018, the ultimate photographic history of the ‘blue oval’ at the Mount Panorama enduro.

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“The car Chris Pither crashed at Turn 8 at Adelaide in 2016, that was a bigger repair and was in the middle of a race season, so that put more strain on the team at the time.

“The guys just pulled this one apart, the race crew came back from holidays over Christmas and she was sitting freshly-painted in the workshop.”

The rebuild means the chassis will once again serve as the team's #55 Supercheap Auto-backed entry, albeit for new driver Jack Le Brocq in place of the departing Mostert.

Prior to its return to action in Le Brocq's hands, FPR 1519 had exclusively been Mostert's car for its entire racing life.

Built new for 2016 to replace the chassis destroyed in his horror qualifying crash at the 2015 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Mostert celebrated its debut with a pole position at Adelaide.

In 111 championship race starts from 2016 to 2019, Mostert took nine pole positions and five race wins, including back-to-back Saturday wins on the Gold Coast in 2017 and 2018.

Last year the chassis became the first in championship history to win races as both a Falcon FG X and as a Mustang GT, and set a new Supercars race lap record at Mount Panorama during the closing stages of last year's Bathurst 1000.

Ironically, the car also picked up another accolade after its massive Surfers Paradise shunt.

Scott McLaughlin's exclusion from qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout at last year's Bathurst 1000 meant second-fastest Mostert and FPR 1519 was awarded the ARMOR ALL Pole Position, a result confirmed on the Sunday of the Sandown 500 race weekend – a fortnight after Mostert's Gold Coast crash.

In another twist of fate, it stands as the only pole position so far in Mostert's career earnt in a Top 10 Shootout.

Whether Le Brocq stays in the repaired car for the full season has not yet been decided.

“We’ve got a couple of new chassis on the go but we haven’t decided who’s having what at the moment,” Edwards said.

“At the moment they’ll all go to the first race, then when (the first one) is ready to come online we’ll make a decision on where it goes.”

 

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