Queenslander in pole position
BRISBANE-born V8 Supercar engineer Grant McPherson will dump his Queensland heritage for a Victorian win in the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 at Queensland Raceway next month.
McPherson is the chief race engineer of the Trading Post FPR Falcon driven by championship front-runner and third-placed Will Davison.
Davison will be primed to overtake a Victorian now based in Queensland - his best mate and former housemate Jamie Whincup - for the V8 Supercar Championship lead.
The Ipswich 300 is from August 3-5 at Queensland Raceway.
Growing up in Brisbane before relocating to Melbourne to study, McPherson's love of cars and motorsport blossomed into a passion for his V8 Supercars team.
Heading home to Queensland Raceway, McPherson said the pressure was on to maintain his driver's strong start to the season.
He admits the Ipswich event has been a bogey round for his team.
"Coming back to Queensland Raceway, there's a lot of pressure for us to perform there," he said.
"In the last two years, we've been horrible at Willowbank. It's been our weakest circuit.
"We're looking forward to seeing if the hard work we've put in this year will pay off."
The FPR team has enjoyed a strong start to the season all round with three fast cars in the main championship and one in the Dunlop Series.
Davison has won more races than any driver but Whincup's consistency so far has given him a narrow championship lead.
"It's really exciting. It's quite daunting," he said.
"We're having our best ever season, and more success than we could have predicted. There's a lot of pressure on but it's a lot of fun.
"We've got a great group of guys and everybody's working well together. We've got three fast cars in the main game, and one in the Dunlop Series. Morale is at an all-time high."
McPherson's big break came when he entered a racecar design competition while studying automotive engineering at RMIT.
He said the key to unlocking a career in Australian Motorsport is experience.
"While I was at uni, I was involved in the Formula SAE design competition where you build a racecar," he said.
"I did that for four years, racing at Australian competitions and in the US.
"I did some work experience for a Formula Ford team. I started out at FPR as a design engineer for the FG Falcon, the car we eventually debuted in 2009, then started as a travelling data engineer midway through 2007.
"The first step to a career in motorsport is doing work experience, whether it be with a V8 Team, or a development team, or a Formula Ford team.
"The hardest thing to get is that first opportunity. Just volunteering your time is definitely the first step.
"Once you're in, doors start opening. It's a great ride."
Ticket information for the Ipswich 300 at v8supercars.com.au, or online at ticketek.com.au.