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FT5000 prototype’s new lease of life

THE car which laid the foundations for the S5000 category is destined for a new chapter after being sold.

Queensland-based motorsport enthusiast Duane Wilson has purchased the open-wheeler from Chris Lambden.

The car was originally unveiled in 2016 as part of Lambden’s plan to launch Formula Thunder 5000.

That became complicated by Supercars’ subsequent announcement of a Super5000 product, which culminated in a head-to-head battle at the 2017 Gold Coast 600.

“That was the showdown really to decide what direction things were going to go in, and fortunately it worked out in the right way,” Lambden reflected to V8 Sleuth.

S5000 was the result of a merger, with the V8 category racing for the first time in 2019 and – at this stage – the last time at the 2023 Adelaide 500.

“It had been sitting there in my garage for quite a while, since the back half of it was used when we moved on and developed what became the S5000 with the Ligier tub,” said Lambden.

“Once that was all finalised, then everything on the back of car 001 was replaced with new stuff when all of the cars were built, so I was in a position to rebuild the original prototype which was nice.”

Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Wilson has already shaken down the car at Morgan Park Raceway and has a clear vision for its future.

“I’ve been building a hillclimb car for quite some time; it was a Lola with a Lexus V8 in the back. It was not progressing very far so I thought, I’m getting older and I need to get into something before I get too old,” he explained to V8 Sleuth.

Wilson is eyeing a tilt at the Australian Hillclimb Championship.

“I’ve run third twice,” he said.

“Probably next year is the goal, so I’ll spend some time in the seat getting myself back up to speed and make some slight changes to the car, I guess.”

While FT5000 and ultimately S5000 is dear to Lambden’s heart, the motorsport industry stalwart admitted the time was right for him to part ways with the car.

“The whole S5000 thing has ended up in a rather unfortunate situation with effectively being hammered down by Supercars and Motorsport Australia to the point where the Rogers have withdrawn the cars for this year,” he said.

“I don’t know what the future holds at this point.

“Frankly, it’s a case of ‘let’s move on’ (for me). It’s a shame, but that’s what it is.

“From my perspective, the good news is the car has gone to a good home.

“It was a very, very good car. In fact in some ways it was probably even better than what we ended up with.”

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