THE new custodian of the V8 Supercar that gave Tickford Racing its first win in the Bathurst 1000 is well aware of the significance of the car he owns.
Stefan Rupp, an entrepreneur and the owner of English Football League Two team Bradford City AFC, gave FPR 1214 its first public hitout in its new homeland at Germany’s Hockenheimring circuit last weekend.
The chassis is the car that Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards drove to victory in the 2013 Bathurst 1000, the first win in the event for the team then-known as Ford Performance Racing and the penultimate Falcon win in the ‘Great Race’ prior to the model’s retirement.
Rupp acquired the car via JM Imports in England late last year while its preparation is looked after by Scuderia GT GmbH, with its new owner enjoying his first shakedown laps behind the wheel of the Falcon at the Salzburgring in Austria at the end of June.
“I was looking for a V8 Supercar, a Car of the Future chassis in particular, and stumbled over the car searching the web – lucky me!” Rupp told V8 Sleuth.
“As a long lasting fan of the series I was hooked by the unique race history as winning at Bathurst is the holy grail, so it was a no-brainer to buy it.”
The Falcon joins another impressive piece of touring car machinery in Rupp’s collection – an Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI raced by Giancarlo Fisichella in the 1996 International Touring Car Championship.
“The Alfa is a spaceframed/carbon-tubed prototype car with all the available electronic gadgetry in which Alfa spent around US$100 million in development for the 1996 season, which was like a Formula 1 budget in those days,” Rupp said.
“The Falcon is based on a serial car almost without any driver aids but is nevertheless a quite well balanced and easy to drive car – more like a GT3 car with less aero and more horsepower.
“I liked it from the first lap on.”
The Hockenheim event saw the car run with a host of ex-DTM and Porsche Supercup machinery in the Tourenwagen Revival class, consisting of a half-hour practice session with a pair of half-hour regularity sprints, while Rupp also campaigned his Alfa to a win and a second place in the Tourenwagen Legenden races for ex-DTM/ITC and STW cars over the same weekend.
Where he’ll campaign the Bathurst-winning Falcon next is yet to be determined, but it won’t be sitting idly as a museum piece.
“The car is far too precious to beat it down in a race series the whole season, but a race car has to be raced of course,” Rupp said.
“First step is of course to gain as much seat time in it as possible as my lap times at Hockenheim were 10 seconds slower than with the Alfa – I didn’t drive it in anger as I didn’t want to crash it the first time out!”