Navy and FPR strengthen bond ahead of Sandown

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Kat Mulheron (author), LSIS Paul McCallum (photographer), LSIS Dove Smithett (photographer)

Location(s): Sandown International Raceway, VIC

Topic(s): Team Navy, V8 Supercars

Mechanics from Ford Performance Racing, including Royal Australian Navy LSMT Jordan Marchioni and POMT Chris King at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Sandown Raceway. (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
Mechanics from Ford Performance Racing, including Royal Australian Navy LSMT Jordan Marchioni and POMT Chris King at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Sandown Raceway.

On the eve of the Sandown 500, the excitement revved up for Team Navy and Ford Performance Racing (FPR) as they showcased their strengthening relationship with an impressive display of airpower from one of Navy’s S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters alongside the unveiling of new Navy branding on the V8 Supercars Pepsi Max Crew Fords.

The Seahawk will entertain fans trackside during the Sandown 500 Endurance Cup and took time out for a unique photo opportunity alongside the factory Ford team’s two Pepsi Max-backed race cars.

The meeting of the three impressive machines took place in recognition of the addition of a third Navy Technician to FPR’s staff who will work alongside the two Marine Technicians already on outplacement at the team’s Melbourne headquarters.

FPR and Navy entered into a five-year agreement in 2012 which enabled the two entities to implement an Outplacement Program, fostering unique training and development of Navy Marine Technicians (MT). The success of the first two years will see a third Navy Aircraft Technician joining Ford’s V8 Supercars team from 2014.

“Our partnership with the Navy is unique but both groups have really solidified a strong relationship in the last two years,” FPR Team Principal and CEO, Tim Edwards said.

“Each of the four Navy personnel that have so far worked at FPR has made a significant contribution to our business. They have also learnt a lot of new skills which they can then take back to the Navy once their 12 months with us ends.”

Petty Officer MT Chris King and Leading Seaman MT Jordan Marchioni have worked hard and travelled frequently while posted to Navy’s FPR Outplacement Program. They've shared skills and camaraderie unique to sailors and will take away the ability to think outside the square while under pressure. As the placement lasts 12 months, the search is on for the next three technical sailors to commence 2014.

“I’ve been based at FPR since the start of the season and despite having a lot of technical skills I have learnt so much since being part of the team,” LSMT Marchioni said.

“While it will be tough to leave such a cool job when my 12 months is up I know I will take a lot of valuable new skills back into my job in the Navy. If I wasn’t in the Navy the opportunity to work at FPR would not have been possible so full credit to Navy and FPR for collaborating to make it possible.”

This weekend the two Ford Pepsi Max Crew cars of Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison will carry Navy branding in recognition of the expanded partnership which comes less than a month before the International Fleet Review on Sydney Harbour celebrating the first fleet entry of the RAN in 1913.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131404.