STRANGE BUT TRUE: HRT, FPR’S SHUNT ON ROUTE TO THE TRACK

The two Ford Performance Racing Falcons and two Holden Racing Team Commodores were involved in a crash on the way to the circuit in Bahrain in 2007. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

HAVE you ever heard the one about the V8 Supercars that nearly fell off the back of a truck?

This Strange But True tale was no joke to the Holden Racing Team and Ford Performance Racing, whose cars nearly slid off their transporter during a road accident on the way to the Bahrain round in 2007.

The fly-away round required all teams to package their cars up in air freight cradles for the trip to the Middle East, which were then loaded onto the back of flat bed trucks for the journey from the airport to the circuit.

DON’T MISS OUT: Print run confirmed for Perkins Engineering car history book

WIND UP: McLaren’s reverse-direction prank on Ayrton Senna

EXPLAINER: How Greg Murphy came to use the number 51

According to reports at the time, the truck carrying the four factory-backed cars was travelling down the freeway towards the track when another car made a sudden U-turn in front of it.

“Well, this is a new one…” Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

When the driver jumped on the brakes the cradle carrying the FPR Falcons broke its restraints and hit the HRT Commodores in front of it, forcing them into the back of the truck’s cab.

The crash virtually blocked the multi-lane freeway for two and a half hours, with plenty of V8 Supercars personnel – including FPR team principal Tim Edwards – getting caught in the jam. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Incredibly, nobody was injured in the crash, but the same couldn’t be said of the four V8 Supercars.

The damage forced both teams to air-freight an additional batch of spares to Bahrain for the race weekend after plundering their limited supply to get them ready for the weekend.

Skaife’s Commodore suffered the worst of the quartet; the impacts required the replacement of the radiator, front bumper, fuel tank and rear bodywork, while the rear quarter panels also needed some attention.

“This is not the way you want to start a weekend, repairing a car, especially after my team has worked its bum off getting it ready after Indy,” Skaife said.

Skaife’s car required an overnight repair job before being ready for opening practice. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

Teammate Kelly’s car, dressed in Chevrolet colours for the weekend, escaped with minor panel damage and the news was similar over at FPR, whose cars sustained only cosmetic damage.

The incident was, at the time, just the latest in a run of bad luck for Winterbottom.

He’d been stripped of pole position at the preceding Gold Coast round over a technical breach; the round prior to that was Bathurst, where he’d lost the lead with a wild late-race moment entering the Chase.

“When they said four cars had been damaged I knew that the way our luck’s been going it would be ours, and it was,” Winterbottom said.

FPR mechanics attend to Winterbottom’s Cobra-liveried Falcon upon its arrival at the circuit. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

However, it also added credence to the theory that bad luck comes in threes.

Winterbottom piloted the repaired car to pole position and victories in the first two races of the weekend, while a third place in the finale sealed his first round win of the season.

The occasion didn’t mark the first time a leading touring car had been damaged on its way to a round – but that’s another tale for another edition of Strange But True.

Click HERE to read more tales of the Strange But True!

Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.