Mark Winterbottom has confirmed he will continue to race for Ford Performance Racing until at least the end of the 2014 season, having extended his current deal for a further three seasons.
The announcement came at the unveiling of the factory Ford team's 2012 Orrcon Steel livery which Winterbottom will display on his #5 Ford Falcon in the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship.
After finishing third in the 2011 championship, Winterbottom believes the team's form at the end of last season, coupled with a stable technical line-up which has now had a season to gel (team mate Will Davison is contracted until the end of 2013), will give him the tools needed to be at the head of the field for the entire 2012 season.
“We enter the new season with a stable technical package, a motivated and very fit crew and the knowledge that we now have a very fast car on all types of tracks,” Winterbottom said.
“As a team we know that we have to score more points than last year and win more races than last year and we have worked very hard in the off-season to ensure we have the tools to do just that.
Still sporting a boot to protect his broken left ankle after breaking his leg in a water skiing accident before Christmas, Winterbottom maintained he will be fit and ready for the season-opening race at the start of March, his seventh straight season with the Prodrive-owned team.
“A broken tibia is not the ideal preparation but the fact it happened well before the first race and is my left leg which doesn't get used much at all driving the car means I don't expect any issues at all when we arrive in Adelaide for the Clipsal 500.”
FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards, also in attendance at the livery unveiling, knows consistency will be key in 2012.
“We have a simple goal for the year that should stand us in good stead,” Edwards said.
“That is to score more points and more wins more often. We achieved that by the end of last year but this is a new season and we need to maintain a high-level of performance across all the events.
“When we give Mark the car he needs he has shown that he is a race winner so we just need to ensure we give him that week in, week out.”
Winterbottom will be on track with the new look #5 Orrcon Steel FPR at the V8 Supercars Season Launch test day at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne on 11 February.