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Sep 8, 2014

CAR FOCUS: RYAN SIMPSON’S EX-CRAIG LOWNDES FALCON

The cars of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series have great stories. Here’s another one of them …

EVERY car that you see on the grid in the 2014 Kumho Series has a story to tell from its past in V8 Supercar racing.

In the case of this year’s points leader Ryan Simpson, his Triple Eight Race Engineering Falcon is one with plenty of interesting history.

Next in action at Phillip Island in just over a week, Simpson’s Falcon has very familiar colours on its flanks.

The same colours were on it back in 2008 when it was debuted as a TeamVodafone Falcon by Craig Lowndes at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

Sadly, Lowndes was involved in a crash with James Courtney on that weekend and the damage to the brand new BF Falcon was so great that he was forced into a spare car for the next two events before his new car returned for the trip to Hamilton in New Zealand.

Lowndes drove this car through the remainder of the season – except for the endurance races where it was rested – before it was sold to Sonic Motor Racing for the 2009 Fujitsu Series.

Fresh from finishing Rookie of the Year in Porsche Carrera Cup, James Moffat drove the car as #999 in 2009, winning the Townsville round and debuting Norton colours on it at Bathurst before finishing runner-up in the title and Mike Kable Young Gun Award winner.

It was retained as the #999 entry in 2010 and again won in Townsville, though this time with new pilot Tim Blanchard – who also finished second in the series and won the Mike Kable Young Gun Award!

Talk about keeping it consistent!

The car then lay idle during 2011 and 2012 before being sold to Ryan Simpson’s family team in 2013 and returning to the track at Winton in the Kumho Series.

Since then it’s been the car to chase in the V8 Touring Car category, so much so that Simpson has collected 18 of a possible 21 race wins since his debut at Winton last year.

This year the Parramatta Smash Repairs team put the car back into its familiar chrome Vodafone livery with its own sponsors logos, reminding race fans of a period where Triple Eight helped lead the way for Ford in V8 Supercar racing.

Simpson and the rest of the Kumho Series field will be back in action at the next round of the series at Phillip Island on September 20-21.